The fact that Dr. Ben Carson was able to eloquently deliver an address in Washington on political correctness, health care and taxes was no great surprise to the people who know him well. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University has sterling credentials.

But what was surprising is how easily he presented his solutions for some of the most perplexing issues facing this nation with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden sitting just a few feet away. During the 23-minute address, Carson outlined a private health care savings plan and a flat tax for all Americans.

It didn't take long for the "Ben Carson For President" chatter to go viral and in a short time, the speech received more than two million views on YouTube.

Not everyone is sure about a run for the presidency, including Carson himself. Despite the positive feedback, he said that wasn't his intention and that any future move into the political arena would be "up to God," the premise he made in his book "America the Beautiful" which released last year.

Conservative columnist Cal Thomas wasn't happy with using the prayer breakfast as a forum for political opinion, which was a smack down of President Obama's policies. Thomas said the prayer breakfast was as an event designed to draw people closer to God and bridging partisan and cultural divides, not a place to lecture against government policies.

Conservatives can make an argument that this president, contrary to his promise of having a transparent administration, has avoided the hard questions from the press at every turn, choosing when and where to field those weak, softball questions lobbed by his friends in the liberal media.

Dr. Carson disagrees with critics that his prayer breakfast address was particularly political. Last Sunday, he said in a network interviewer that as a physician, he likes to diagnose things and that a number of issues he cited resonated with the American people.

As for his political ambitions, Carson, who will retire from practicing medicine this summer, indicated he's not closing any doors but said he hoped to see more open and intelligent conversation on the tough issues we face, "not people just casting aspersions at each other and acting like third graders."

Carson's excellent speech was no great surprise to those who know him. Before choosing to become a psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow said he was privileged to have trained with Carson at Johns Hopkins during his medical and surgical rotations. He said one trait that Carson and the other surgeons exhibited then is that they don't pull punches and when there's a battle, they don't hate the people to whom they have to deliver bad news.

Dr. Ablow says Dr. Carson doesn't need not apologize to President Obama since he made his diagnosis as a surgeon and presented a treatment plan that could save the life of this nation. He says that anyone who argues that he should have held his tongue out of "respect" for the office of the president doesn't understand that telling the truth to a man, however powerful, is still the ultimate form of respect.

Disregarding the political ambitions of Dr. Carson, the nation at least has someone who can dissect this health care debacle known as Obamacare.

By Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com