Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, whose poll numbers have taken off thanks to enthusiastic populist support, seems to hold a more skeptical view of voters than he usually displays on the campaign trail. In a speech from last year, Carson said in reference to the American people, “Many of them are stupid,” Mother Jones reported Tuesday.

His statement came during a stop on a book tour, when Carson spoke at the Richard Nixon Library on Oct. 19, 2014. Many in the crowd seemed to want Carson to run for president, chanting “run, Ben, run” as he entered the room. When an audience member asked if he would enter the 2016 presidential race as an independent, Carson said he would not do so because it would split the Republican vote.

Carson broadened his speech from specific political parties to vague political enemies, who he said were permeating various aspects of American society in a quest to control the country:

They can twist and turn things as much as they want. But what they don’t understand—and they miscalculated. They were doing a great job in terms of fundamentally changing this nation. In terms of infiltrating the school systems. In terms of infiltrating the media. All of this—they’ve done a great job. Everything was perfect. Except they underestimated the intelligence of the American people. The people are not as stupid as they think they are. Many of them are stupid. Okay. But I’m talking about overall.

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