Potential GOP presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson may have rattled some Republican voters Wednesday who heard that he admitted to having the "same goals" as that of civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton.
"Sharpton and I have the same goal: to build a brighter, stronger America that provides equal opportunities and access to the underserved and forgotten. However, we have a fundamental difference of opinion regarding the best way to achieve such an end," explained Carson in an op-ed published in the National Review Wednesday.
Carson referenced his appearance at Sharpton's National Action Network convention in New York City last Wednesday where he made a big impression on members of the organization despite his conservative stand on a number of issues such as healthcare and public assistance.
In the run-up to Carson's speech, Sharpton was quick to declare: "Dr. Ben Carson and I don't agree on a lot. We probably don't even agree that today is Wednesday."
He however noted: "I have always respected and admired what he did in the medical field. He is truly someone that I respect, and I respect the fact that even though we disagree on politics and on the president and other things that I believe, he was sincere in what he said. … I do expect people to say what they believe and be sincere."
Speaking to Fox News' Megyn Kelly on "The Kelly File" about the admission Wednesday night, Carson explained his statement, further highlighting that they both want to see a stronger America.
"One of the big problems in our country right now is that we get off in our respective corners and we throw hand grenades at each other … We need to be solving problems," said Carson.
Carson added he "wanted to give an alternative to the massive spending of trillions of dollars since the 60's to so-called help people."
"None of things that were supposed to have gotten better, have gotten better," he told Kelly. "There's a much better alternative."
When Kelly asked Carson why he would risk tarnishing his brand by associating with Sharpton he replied: "You won't get me to defend him ... But I will tell you that the audience, a little cool when I first started, but by the time I finished [I got a] standing ovation and were very warm."
"We don't want to categorize people based on an individual," Carson told Kelly. "We want to give them all an opportunity to listen and evaluate, because it's the only way we are going to heal the deep divisions that exist in our country."