Carson drops out as love doesn’t equal votes

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a political outsider who signaled the end of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination Wednesday, formally pulled the plug Friday at a forum in Maryland.

Speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of activists, Carson said the nation needs “trickle-down ethics.” He said the ideal presidential candidate is ethical and accomplished, has clear policies and treats others well. He says whoever can check all of those boxes would be a “great leader.”

But he declined to endorse any of the remaining GOP candidates, even though he said he had “talked to all of them this week.”

Carson reiterated that he was ending his campaign, something he announced on his page the day after Super Tuesday contests. After trailing the field in most, Carson said he could “not see a political path forward” for his effort.

The activists gave him an adoring standing ovation. He says there are “a lot of people who love me – they just won’t vote for me.”

Carson says he will now be working on a project to encourage religious values voters to participate in elections.