Fox News
August 18, 2011

Has Obama Abandoned the African-American Community?

Guests: Niger Innis & Jehmu Greene

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 18, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now there's one thing in America that may be falling faster than the Dow, and that's the president's approval rating. As he wrapped up his bad news bus tour in the Midwest, the Congressional Black Caucus delivered "The Anointed One" some bad news -- they are fed up with his leadership. Here for example, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CALIF.: We want to give him every opportunity. But our people are hurting. Unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what his strategy is. We don't know why on this trip that he's in the United States now he's not in any black communities, we don't know that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: This leads to a larger question, is it just the CBC that is unhappy or is the African-American community at large that has had enough?

Now, right here on the Fox News Channel, Florida Congressman Allen West gave his reading of the situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: You have this 21st century plantation that has been out there. Where the Democrat Party has forever taken the black vote for granted. And you have established certain black leaders who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation. And now the people on that plantation are upset, because they've been disregarded, disrespected and their concerns are not cared about. So, I'm here as the modern day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Joining me now with reaction is the spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, Niger Innis and Fox News contributor Jehmu Greene. Welcome back to the program, thanks for being here.

NIGER INNIS, CORE SPOKESPERSON: Thank you.

JEHMU GREENE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. Jehmu those are pretty harsh words from a pretty staunch supporter of the president, Maxine Waters. And she is asking for permission from people showing up at this town hall to go in and confront Barack Obama and why didn't Barack Obama go into the black community on this tour of his, and ask him, you know, what is going on here?

GREENE: Well, I absolutely agree with Representative Waters, that the unemployment rate in the black community is unconscionable. And I heard Newt Gingrich agree with her as well. I do have to, you know, say it is a bit of a hot mess when a member of Congress is saying that they need permission from their constituents to hold the White House accountable. I remember back in the inauguration when President Obama inspired me the most is when he gave a speech to all of, you know, his base communities. And he said, you have to hold me accountable.

So, I have a problem with Waters' statement there and some of the things we've heard from Al Sharpton, as far as, you know, we can't criticize the president. But the reality is, from day one, the President has been making sure that he is doing everything he can to increase jobs for all Americans --

HANNITY: Alright, I got that, but --

GREENE: -- and he knows he's not going to be happy until we see these numbers going down. Its 16 percent isn't good. The fact that it decreased by three-tenths in the last month, that is a good start. But we have a lot of work still left to be done.

HANNITY: Maxine Waters said that the unemployment rate for African-Americans nationally is over 16 percent, almost twice that in Detroit. And she said that the president and his trip through the Midwest that didn't include any stops in the black community. Now, we look at the demographics, the African-American community voted very heavily, 90 percent plus for Barack Obama.

INNIS: But you can see his approval rating dropping dramatically, most dramatically in the African-American community and Latino community. And the reason is clear. I mean, yes, 16 percent unemployment in the black community, for black youth, 40 percent unemployment. In big cities like Detroit, 20 percent unemployment. Obama-nomics, his imposition of European-style socialism is not working for African-Americans, it is not working of Latinos. And African-Americans, I'll tell you, brother Allen West, if he's Harriet Tubman, I'm Nat Turner in liberating black folk and Latinos from the Democratic Party in knowing they have a choice and that the world could be better.

HANNITY: When Maxine Waters says, that we're getting tired, we need to know he's prepared to lead. We want to give him every opportunity. The unemployment rate is unconscionable. I don't, you know, normally agree politically. But all of these things are true. And the problem is, that the president doesn't seem to have any answers. Because, you know, he's told us how many times that he's going to focus on jobs.

INNIS: He keeps saying that -- I'm sorry.

GREENE: He does have answers. And I think maybe a branding problem --

HANNITY: What are the answers? Why hasn't he given us the answer up to now? Why are we waiting three years?

(CROSSTALK)

GREENE: There are many programs that he's working on.

HANNITY: Working on.

GREENE: He's got his urban entrepreneurs --

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: He's working on a speech. He's working on a new plan. What is it?

GREENE: He's got strong city, strong community programs. You know, the earned income tax credit that we saw with the stimulus, 44 percent of African-Americans families benefited from that. So, I think there may be a branding problem there.

HANNITY: Jehmu, hang on a second. He's working, he's working, he's working.

GREENE: I do need to comment --

HANNITY: I don't want to hear this. What has he done? He's had three years.

GREENE: Let me comment on Allen West saying that he is Harriet Tubman.

INNIS: I can tell you what he's done.

GREENE: And no, first of all, Allen West saying that he is Harriet Tubman is laughable if not ludicrous.

HANNITY: Forget him. I'm not asking about that.

GREENE: The only thing he has in common with Harriet Tubman is the color of their skin.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I want to know, what has he done for three years that we can say has been good, not just for the African-American community Niger, but for the country, what has he done?

INNIS: There's no question. And I can tell you what he has done. He has unleashed his Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory bodies to do what he couldn't get done through legislation and raise the cost of energy which is disproportionately going to hurt African-American and Latino families.

He is stifling economic growth. He is killing jobs. He is a disaster. He's pursuing a radical environmentalist and frankly European socialist agenda that is not working for African-Americans and Latinos and they have to know they have a choice.

HANNITY: We're living through and America is watching history now, a failed president. He has failed the country in his mission to fix the economic mess as he said during as he said during the campaign, the worst economy since the great depression. He's failed. Now he's going to go back and rewrite a new plan.

INNIS: Jehmu and Sean, there's a particular bitter irony here.

GREENE: This is a once in a lifetime crisis.

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: We have progress -- hold for one second, Jehmu. We've made progress as a people, as a country in terms of --

GREENE: Not if you would let me finish, I've let you talk here, I've let you talk, Niger. I think it is time for you to let me say something here.

INNIS: We've had equal time here. I want to say this quickly.

GREENE: Because the president clearly has been working every single program you see him put out there. Every time he makes a speech, all the push-back he gets from the Republicans, primarily the Tea Party --

HANNITY: Two years Democratic Congress --

GREENE: Balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable Americans and he's been fighting every day to make sure that doesn't happen -- so -- clearly we have a lot more work we need to get done, but you cannot deny --

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: His programs have failed. Jehmu, his programs have failed. The stimulus only stimulated Chris Matthews' leg.

HANNITY: Thank you both. Getting a little loud.

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