• With: Tavis Smiley, host, "Tavis Smiley Reports"

    This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 12, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The 2012 election is just around the corner and President Obama seems to be losing support among African-American voters. Here with me to discuss the reasons why this is the case is the host of "Tavis Smiley Reports," it's on PBS. Tavis is also airing a special tomorrow night, which addresses what he calls the miseducation of African-American kids. Here with a sneak peek.


    TAVIS SMILEY, HOST, "TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS": We traveled to Oakland, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles to meet other boys who are on the road to success and the dedicated educators who refuse to let them fail.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody deems of dropping out of high school. We would never be as honest as 5-year-old, 5-year-olds tell the truth. I want to be a fireman. I want to be a lawyer. They don't ever say I want to dropout. I want to murder, I want to be murdered. They don't say that.

    SMILEY: If the crisis that black boys are enduring right now were crisis involving white boys, what would the response be in this country?

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be immediate. It would be drastic.


    HANNITY: Joining me now the man himself, author of the e-book "Too Important to Fail, Saving America's Boys".

    Tavis, we go back a long way. It is good to see you. I mean, we don't agree a lot on issues. But I've always had a good respect for you. I appreciate you being back.

    All right, before we get to that, which I think we're going to agree on. So let's start at the point we disagree.

    I think Barack Obama has failed as president. You like him. Tell me where he's been successful.

    SMILEY: Well, I don't think Barack Obama would say that he thinks I like him given the critique I've had of him of late. A lot of people would laugh at that, certainly inside the White House on poverty and on black unemployment, on these wars that we're still engaged in, I've had some critiques of the president.

    My view is this and my friend Dr. Cornell West coined this phrase, I respect the president, I will protect the president, but I will also correct the president when I think he's wrong. I think that's how you handle any president, black, white, Republican or Democrat.

    You respect the presidency. You will protect our president from any enemy foreign or domestic, but sometimes presidents have to be corrected. They are not right about everything no matter who they are.

    HANNITY: Could you see yourself voting for a Republican?

    SMILEY: For me, it is not so much about labels as it is on where they stand on the issues and the principles --

    HANNITY: Is there anyone that's running against him that you could vote for?

    SMILEY: Not at the moment no.

    HANNITY: Do you see any area where he's been successful? I mean, he promised unemployment would stay below eight percent. He said Bush was unpatriotic when he hit the four trillion in debt mark. He did it in 2-1/2 years. What metric do you look that you say he is successful?

    SMILEY: I think that it is true. I don't think this is a winning campaign strategy. I'm the last person to give the Obama people advice, they don't want to hear from me. But I don't think it's a winning campaign strategy.

    But I think it is true that it could have been a great deal worse. It could have been much worse the economy, number one. Number two, I have major issues with the health care reform. Major issues.

    HANNITY: It didn't go far enough for you.

    SMILEY: It didn't go far enough for me -- I know you and I disagree on that.

    HANNITY: Oh my goodness.

    SMILEY: It didn't go far enough for me. But I think getting a step closer for all Americans having access to equal high quality health care is an important step. Again, I'm not the guy to run the Obama talking points that's not me.

    But I think there have been areas where -- well, I think certainly our image around the globe. I was here in New York. I've been here for the last couple of days at an interdependent conference, which happens every year around this town, around September 11th to bring nations of the world together.

    There's no doubt about the fact -- I travel all the time around the world -- that our standing around the world went up dramatically, post George Bush in era Barack Obama. That's a fact.

    HANNITY: He said America is arrogant. He went on this apology tour. We don't have the right to impose our values. America is not a Christian nation. All these things he got a lot of criticism for. It is almost on a daily basis.

    His poll numbers have tanked. He's accumulated over four trillion in debt at this point. He wants more spending, higher taxes. You know, why would you double down on something that has failed?

    SMILEY: We disagree about that.

    HANNITY: Where has it been successful?

    SMILEY: Let me put it this way. Again, I'm in an awkward position because I'm not the guy to give the Obama talking points. I have a problem personally and politically with this deficit reduction package.

    When you put together a deal that doesn't raise a single cent of new revenue, no taxes on the rich or the lucky, doesn't close a single corporate loophole, doesn't extend unemployment benefits. I oppose that deficit reduction package. The one we just passed a few weeks ago.

    HANNITY: But this is what he is calling for now, $450 billion in new spending. They just announced today that -- majority of which is going to come through higher taxes.

    SMILEY: This will surprise you, but I don't the scale of what he has presented is equivalent to the size of the problem. I think it ought to be bigger. And I'm not the only one that feels that way. Krugman, Paul Krugman. I'm not the only person that feels that way. But there ought to be more spending.

    Here's the main thing, if you want to bring the deficit down, the fastest and surest way to do that, more jobs. You want to bring down the deficit, create more jobs.

    HANNITY: I felt the rhetoric got insane during the Bush years. I try to criticize the president on substance. I have philosophical different vision. I think we should lower taxes, stimulate economic growth --

    SMILEY: I respect that.