A day after his measured showing in Wednesday night's historic Republican debate on CNN. which he called a "mud throwing," "reality TV show gone bad" that he "didn't much care for," retired neurosurgeon and 2016 GOP presidential contender Ben Carson said he gained more than 500,000 new fans on Facebook and more than $1 million in small donations as a result.
"Darren (in Ohio) asks about the press stories today saying that with the debate yesterday our campaign picked up 300,000 new Facebook supporters. We announced that number last night after the debate but now the number has continued to grow. I checked when I sat down and the number was over 500,000," said Carson who celebrates his 63rd birthday Friday in a question and answer session with his followers on Facebook Thursday night.
"We are getting very close to 3,400,000 which is astounding. Even more astounding is that yesterday we raised over a million dollars in small contributions. We the People is growing!" he added.
Responding to another question about how he felt about the format of the record-setting debate watched by 23.1 million viewers Carson said it was more mudslinging than a debate of serious issues.
"I didn't much care for it. I think it is time we had a serious debate on the issues of the day not a mud throwing session filled with one liners instead of actual thought," said Carson.
"I hope the next debate can be more serious and less reality TV show gone bad. I saw the ratings numbers set records for CNN but I hope the viewers were as disappointed as I was. If you watched, I would be interested in your comments, though I can't promise to respond to them — you vastly outnumber me," noted Carson who currently trails only Donald Trump in national polls for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Apparently voters also picked up on Carson's apathy during the debate. A sampling of Republican voters from Iowa who watched the debate told The New York Times that his demeanor and general lack of fire during the marathon session made him look weak.
"Carson's demeanor is beginning to make him look weak," Mary Whisenand, an insurance executive in Des Moines told the Times. "It isn't that I think every presidential candidate needs to get out there and do hellfire and brimstone, but the optics are starting to work against him."
Others, like John Wills, an Army veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who said he was thinking of campaigning for Carson said he changed his mind because of Carson's response on how he would have responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"There are smart ways to do things and there are muscular ways to do things," said Carson.
"I don't know what that means," said Wills, who was elected last year to the Iowa House in the conservative District 1. "If somebody attacks us and we respond by saying we're going to use smart power, we put ourselves into a position of being not understood and taken seriously."