Ben Carson announced his 2016 presidential bid

Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — Ben Carson officially kicked off his presidential campaign Monday with a schedule that included a prayer breakfast with city pastors and an assembly at the Detroit high school that bears his name.

"I'm Ben Carson, and I'm a candidate for president of the United States," Carson told supporters at a rally Monday at Detroit's Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.

On Sunday night, Carson told a Florida TV station that he's definitely in the race. From Detroit, he had been scheduled to travel to Iowa, for three days of events in the pivotal state where the first presidential caucus of the 2016 election cycle will be held Feb. 1. But he switched up his plans early Monday and said he'll go to Dallas to be with his critically ill mother Sonya Carson.

At the Charles Wright Museum of African American History, Carson told reporters that he's anxious to hear what other GOP candidates have to say.

"If they're all saying the same thing I am, fantastic. The more the merrier, bring em on," he said. "Let's talk about what our ideals are. The only thing I'm going to be doing is to encouraging people to think for themselves. Listen and think for yourself. Don't listen to pundits and the people who try to control everything."

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