Presidential Candidate Ben Carson Speaks in Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO --

It's not the kind of place or kind of crowd most Republican presidential candidates are spending their time on these days, but months before he announced his run for the White House, Ben Carson committed to speaking at INDIVIZIBLE.

That's Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's African-American empowerment series.

In keeping his promise by showing up at the Guild Theater Monday, Carson may have sent his strongest campaign message -- that's he's  a man of his word.

It's part of what's inspiring to one of his young fans - future cardiovascular surgeon Savanna Karmue.

She presented the candidate and author with her own book about heart health and a T-shirt from her business.

"Like, I like he has a positive attitude and he never gives up," the 9-year-old said.

On Monday, Carson came out on top of a new Monmouth national poll of the 15 already declared and likely Republican presidential candidates for 2016.

He garnered 11 percent support.

The downside to that good news is that 20 percent of those surveyed said they were undecided, so he got bested by a blank.

Supporters gathered at the Guild say all that will change soon.

Carson roped in the crowd with comments that brought out loud, nervous laughter.

"The thing that impressed me the most were the roaches. There were large aggressive roaches," Carson said to the Guild crowd, speaking of his youth in public housing.

Carson -- a world -renowned pediatric neurosurgeon -- didn't  put a glossy veneer over the rough parts of the impoverished life that eventually led him to him being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the father of a man he's now running against.

Jeb Bush officially entered the presidential race Monday.

Carson credits his mother for setting excellence as the standard for life.

"She never made excuses and she never accepted excuses from us," he said.

One idea the 63-year-old conservative is pushing?

Take 80 percent of the government funding currently spent on Medicaid and divide it up among all recipients to the tune of about $5,000 per person.

Those dollars would then be available for deposit in health saving accounts if the patients so choose.

"I believe in Ben Carson, and Ben Carson, quite frankly, is the only one that can beat Hillary," said local Carson campaign volunteer Albert Shuman.

"He took everything that he was given and turned it into lemonade...never let adversity get down...get down on him," said Helen O'Connell.

And with most in the Guild crowd part of a voting block the Democratic Party has counted in its back pocket for generations, many are eager for change.

"He's a running candidate for president, and I want to see his views as the next African-American candidate and how they differ from Obama," said Pastor David Gray.

" I don't think we get enough different points of view, and I think it's nice and refreshing to hear a conservative African-American because there are plenty of us out there," Medro Johnson said.

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