Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson didn't endorse one of the remaining Republican presidential candidates at the annual CPAC conference Friday night, but he did urge his supporters not to give up on the process following his withdrawal from the race.
Carson, who suspended his presidential campaign in advance of Thursday's debate, told the audience that he had spoken to each of the remaining candidates since then, and urged them to "rise above the crass," and "talk about issues" instead of making personal attacks.
Carson said he decided to end his campaign after he "did the math," and the delegate counts, and decided "it wasn't going to happen. I didn't want to interfere in the process."
"A lot of people love me," Carson said. "They just won't vote for me."
He said some of his supporters told him they wouldn't vote unless he was on the ballot. Carson said "we can't afford to do that."
"Please, no matter how you feel, if we choose another secular progressive [in November's general election], we have done our children in," he said.
Carson said he would still be involved in the political process.
"I'll be involved in a lot of different things," he said, including serving as national chairman of a group called "My Faith Votes," which seeks to mobilize evangelical voters ahead of the 2016 election.
Carson also said he is comfortable with the idea floating in some GOP circles that the Party's national convention in Cleveland could be brokered if no candidate can win on the first ballot.
"Such a scenario would only become a problem," Carson said, "if someone starts playing with the rules."