Retired surgeon and potential Republican presidential candidate, Ben Carson, has kicked off this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, by criticizing ''the left'' and answering audience questions about topics that included the threat posed by Islamist extremism. Rough Cut (No reporter narration)
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**U.S. POOL- DIGITAL USE ONLY, NO BROADCAST USE WORLDWIDE, NO ACCESS AUSTRALIA BROADCASTER WEBSITES. NO ACCESS JAPAN. NO ACCESS ABC AMERICA, FOX, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO, BBC AMERICA, NBC, OR THEIR DIGITAL/MOBILE PLATFORMS** ROUGH CUT (No reporter narration) STORY: Ben Carson, a retired surgeon popular with Tea Party conservatives, has kicked off the the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. with a speech and a question and answer session aimed defining his credentials ahead of a possible run for president. Among the first questions asked by audience members focused on how Islamist extremist threats should be addressed. The key thing, Carson said, was to "define the mission". He said it was important to recognize that "we have radical Islamic terrorist groups that are in their adolescent stage, that wish to destroy us". "We can wait and see what they're going to do and react to it or we can destroy them first", he said. "The mission that I would give our military is to destroy them first, and I wouldn't tie their hands and let them get it done." In a November , 2014 poll, eight percent of conservatives said they would vote for Carson. A former neurosurgeon at Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University, Carson has no prior political experience. He is a conservative commentator and author of "One Nation," which topped the New York Times bestseller list in June.