By Paul Bedard (@SecretsBedard) • 9/28/15 10:05 AM
Front-running Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson took his campaign to crush the federal debt to the home of Washington's workforce, offering a tough-love message of spending and hiring freezes.
On Sunday evening, before a cheering crowd estimated at 2,000 in Sterling, Va., 29 miles from the U.S. Capitol, Carson said, "We don't raise it one penny for three or four years and the budget will be balanced, just like that."
Then in a message received more warmly far from Washington, he added, "There are thousands of federal employees that retire every year. Don't replace them. Just do that for three or four years."
Leesburg Today video.
Carson focused on the national debt for a good part of his talk, warning that the U.S. economy is a "house of cards, it is going to collapse" if spending continues unchecked. He added to huge applause that he can talk about it because "I am not a politician."
Carson has been surging in the polls and is now virtually tied with Donald Trump in one. Voters said they like his approachable and blunt style and the fact that he is not a politician tied to special interests.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.