This partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, April 29, 2002 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Are conservative African-Americans pulling more weight in the political mainstream? The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies says that, while the number of black officeholders has increased by 600 percent since 1970, many of the conservative black leaders in America were elected by whites.
We continue with Congressman J.C. Watts. His district in Oklahoma is almost 80-percent white, according to The National Journal.
Congressman, if so many African-Americans really share your positions, why then are African-Americans continuing to elect African-Americans who are liberal, not conservative?
REP. J.C. WATTS (R-OK), CONFERENCE CHAIR: Well...
COLMES: Or whites that are liberal, not conservative?
WATTS: My district reflects the State of Oklahoma. It is probably about 80-percent white. It's about 9-percent Americans of African descent and probably 5-percent Native American, and the rest other.
But one of the things that the Joint Center did not say is that there's 12 members — or probably about a third — of the Congressional Black Caucus who are elected by members that don't have majority African-American.
I think what we tend to project is or what we would like to project in mainstream society is that, you know, whites or blacks don't support elected officials that fight for lower taxes for people to keep more of their money, a strong national defense, a new model, if you will.
WATTS: So, I mean, that's the same thing. If you're a black Democrat elected by a non-African-American majority, then that's fine. But if you're a black Republican elected by a non-African-American majority, then there has to be something wrong there.
COLMES: Congressman, my question is why is it that conservatives — they do not win elections in black majority districts. That's what the study shows. That's a fact. Why would that be? Why do you suppose that's the case in America?
WATTS: Well, I think conservatives have missed the boat, I think, in reaching out to these constituencies. I think we have to show how our policies impact the African-American community in a positive way, how lower taxes, less government, a strong national defense, different models on Social Security.
Alan, when you look at the large black municipalities, 90 percent of the black municipalities in America have black mayors. They have black county officials, black state representatives, black federal officials. Those are the communities with the highest crime, you know, child infant mortality rates...
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey...
WATTS: ... you know, abortion, teenage pregnancy.
WATTS: You know, I think we need new ideas. We need new ways of dealing with old problems, and...
WATTS: ... you don't get that when you don't have competition.
HANNITY: I think the real story here is the number of black American elected officials in this country in 30 years has increased 600 percent. I think that's a positive story.
I want to ask this question. You used the term — Republicans may have used the boat in terms of reaching out. Is it that, is it that Republicans have made mistakes on racial issues in the past, or is it also that they're a victim — and or a victim of propaganda like the '98 Missouri ad that said if you elect a Republican — a Democratic Party ad — another black church will burn or the NAACP ad that linked George Bush to the dragging death of James Byrd? You know, how do you analyze those factors?
WATTS: Sean, I think both. I think we missed the boat in reaching out in, I think, again, showing how our policies impact all communities in a positive way, but, also, believe that we have gotten hit pretty hard in terms of the ads that you've talked about.
I think the left have painted a picture that says that the only way you can solve the problem of inner-city America or solve any problem that we face in America is through government solutions.
And let me give you an illustration. George Bush...
COLMES: We only have a second here, Congressman.
WATTS: George Bush 41 raised $50 million for historical black colleges and universities. Now many didn't give him credit for that because it was through the private sector. It wasn't the government. They said that doesn't count because it's not the government.
That's the very thing that, I think, is...
WATTS: ... you know, the type of propaganda that we need to fight.
COLMES: We'll give you the last word on that. We thank you for being with us tonight. Good to see you, once again.
WATTS: Thank you.
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