Alex Altman, TIME MAGAZINE
(Time.com)—A lengthy informercial on the conservative doctor may be a prelude to a presidential campaign.
Pretending to run for president can be a lucrative business. Just ask Donald Trump, who’s milked every dime and dollop of attention from his perpetual flirtation with politics. So too can running a no-shot campaign. Just ask Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich, whose book sales skyrocketed from the attendant publicity.
Sometimes the spoils of fake campaigns accrue to people other than the supposed candidate. For many months now, a political-action committee has been raising money to convince retired doctor Ben Carson to run for president. Carson, who shot to stardom on the right with a rebuke to President Obama at the 2013 national prayer breakfast, has become a sizzling commodity in conservative circles, racking up straw poll victories and placing high in surveys of a hypothetical 2016 field. The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has capitalized, raising a staggering $11 million this cycle in a bid to coax Carson to run. That’s more than the Ready for Hillary folks, even though Clinton seems nearly certain to run and Carson has told media, including TIME, that he has little interest.
He may have changed his mind. This weekend, an hour-long documentary on Carson will air in 22 states, plus Washington, D.C., including media markets in Oregon and upstate New York where Presidential politics rarely travels.