Fmr. NBA Star Injects Racism Into Polls

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 28, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Former basketball player Charles Barkley is now getting political. He told CNN earlier this week that he's planning on running for governor of Alabama in 2014. He also took the opportunity to discuss racism in the country and how it basically renders our polling system, quote, "useless." Take a look.


CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: I think the polls are absolutely useless. I do. I think — seriously. Most people who are racist, they're not going to answer the question correctly, either on a phone call or on camera, so I 100 percent believe the polls are flat- out useless. I think this race is going to be neck and neck, down to the wire.


HANNITY: And joining us now for reaction, syndicated columnist Mark Steyn, FOX News contributor Bob Beckel. And by the way, then he took a shot at FOX, but I don't care what Charles Barkley thinks of me, FOX, or anybody. It doesn't matter, Charles. I could still beat you on one-on-one. No, not quite.

Mark, your thoughts on is race going to be a factor? Because you know something? I don't believe it is.

MARK STEYN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I don't — I don't think so either. In fact, insofar as it is, it's an issue for the Democrats. I speak here as an, you know, inbred, knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal, redneck racist. And on our side of the ledger, you know, clearly whatever is voting for John McCain is voting for John McCain.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview

So the question is, is there a sliver on the Democrat side that is — that is racist. And I would say, in fairness to the Democrats, this isn't a race thing. It's a politically correct thing. There are all kinds of reasons why you might not want to vote for Barack Obama, but there's a squeamishness in part, because the campaign, if you object to his associations, if you object to his voting record, the campaign is too quick to accuse you of racism.

HANNITY: I think Mark, you raised a very good point. I'll throw this to Bob Beckel. All throughout this campaign, Bob, Senator McCain, you know he's a good, decent, honorable man. He's not been bringing up race.

His — his surrogates, there might be some fringe people that have. But — but I keep hearing Barack Obama: "They're going to make you afraid of me. 'He has a funny name. He doesn't look like the guys on the currency. And by the way, oh, he's black'." I hear that from Barack Obama.

I heard a guy by the name of John Murtha, you know, call people in his own district racist rednecks. You know, I hear Michelle Obama saying America is a mean country in 2008.

After watching this depressing, you know, infomercial tonight, I didn't even recognize the country. So my question to you is, if Barack Obama keeps bringing up race, you know, isn't that more of a Democratic issue?

BOB BECKEL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, don't sell yourself short on beating Barkley one-on-one. I would rather take — I would rather take the words of a drunk on the corner down here on politics than Charles Barkley's. But...

HANNITY: Oh, man. That's cold. He was a great player. You've got to admit. He was a good player.

BECKEL: He's a great basketball player, but he ought to stay there. That's exactly right. And not wander into our neighborhood, you know.

You know, I think race has worked itself out in this process already. There probably are some — some people who are going to vote on the basis of race, but I think they're built into the polls. I think you've seen some of that in the primaries, in the Appalachian — the Appalachian regional counties that we're talking about.

But in terms of race as an issue that will be a defining issue, if anything race will work to Obama's advantage, as Mark said, by an increase in the black turnout, which was 44 percent of eligible voters last time. It should be much higher than that.

COLMES: Bob, the more we get to Mark. Mark, do you see a Bradley effect in play here, or is that two decades old and not applicable to what America is today?

BECKEL: I don't see it applicable, and I think the Bradley effect was something, frankly, Alan, that was sort of concocted. It's one of those things you revise as you go along.

Look, the fact of the matter is that this race is going to get tighter. It's bound to, because you're seeing it now a little bit. You're seeing the firming up of Democrats and Republicans.

But I think whatever race vote there is has already been built into the McCain vote, and I think among undecideds, that probably a third of their...

HANNITY: What about the Obama vote?

COLMES: Let me get — Mark, you said a moment ago that, if there's racism, it's only going to be on the Democratic side. Am I interpreting your comments correctly?

STEYN: Well, no. Essentially, if you — on the Republican side, the Republican bloc is going to vote for the Republican candidate. I mean...

COLMES: Not necessarily.

STEYN: Well, let's — let's look at 2000, 2004. It was essentially a 50-50 nation, give or take. So let's assume that people who are minded to vote for the Republican will — on the Republican side will vote for him.

The question of race only comes into play, as Bob was saying, in the Appalachian aspect of the primary, where as Jack Murtha says, he accused his own voters, his own Democratic voters, essentially, of being racist.

COLMES: Do you know that, Mark, there are lots of swing voters, and this is not 2004. And there are a lot of disgruntled Republicans who would probably be open to another candidate who's not a member of the party of George W. Bush. And I'm not saying — that doesn't mean they're racists, but to say that only Democrats can be the ones exhibiting racism is...

STEYN: No, no, no. No, no, just on that point, on the so-called swing voters and undecideds, I think it's not actually race now. I think these — I don't believe a lot of these voters are undecided. but I think they've been bombarded with so much material, you know, from — from anchormen saying they get a thrill up their leg every time they see Obama on TV. There's a reluctance to actually express a skepticism about Barack Obama. I think that goes beyond racism.


HANNITY: Do you get that thrill? I'm just checking.

COLMES: For a different reason.

BECKEL: I don't get that thrill.


HANNITY: All right, guys. Hold on.

COLMES: More with — thanks for that question, Sean. More with Bob and Mark after the break.

Plus we'll give you all the details on Sean's 2009 Freedom Concert series, coming up on "Hannity & Colmes."


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