This is a partial transcript from "HANNITY & COLMES", June 29, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: There's the number [on the screen]: 126 days and counting until Americans head back to the polls.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidate John Kerry continued hitting the campaign trail today, taking aim at a crucial voting demographic.
John Kerry spoke in Chicago to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, aiming to get out his message to the black community. But critics claim that Kerry has already failed to energize a group that could help ensure his election.
So will Democrats be able to appeal to black voters come November?
Joining us now here in New York is syndicated columnist Ron Daniels. From Atlanta, national advisory board member, Project 21, Michael King.
My question is why does George W. Bush, why does he poll so poorly among African-Americans.
MICHAEL KING, PROJECT 21: Well, there is an overall, visceral hatred for George Bush among blacks in general.
KING: And there are a number of things that people point to. But they -- ultimately, what you end up with is the overall lack of a general message among conservatives and among the Republican Party toward the black community.
COLMES: So he's not going to get the black vote. George W. Bush may do as poorly as he did last time against Al Gore, in terms of the black vote.
KING: Very easily. Very easily. I hope it comes out better but I don't see it.
COLMES: Why hasn't this president reached out more to the African-American community in the past three and a half years?
KING: Well, there's certainly been some amounts of out reach on the part of the party. You have the sorts of things with tours of black businessmen and other black Republicans who have gotten out there and have talked to people out in the community.
But until you have a concerted effort by the Republican leadership to actually step out into the community on an ongoing basis, you're not going to get that.
COLMES: Ron Daniels, Bush hasn't met with the NAACP. He hasn't met with leaders for civil rights. He hasn't met with the Congressional Black Caucus except for once. Promised more meetings, that never happened.
I'm surprised by that. And here's a guy who said "I'm a uniter, not a divider." And he seemed to have a better record on this stuff when he was governor of Texas.
RON DANIELS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, that's the issue. And it seems to me that what people are saying is Kerry has an excellent opportunity to defeat Bush.
However, black folks also don't want to be taken for granted. And by that I mean that there's no question that the overwhelming majority of black people are going to vote for Kerry.
The question is, will a significantly large number of black people turn out. And that means that you have to have -- blacks have to hear themselves in the message. We must be included in the strategy and we must also be a part of the resources.
COLMES: You know, Michael...
KING: The Democratic Party is not doing that, Alan. The Democratic Party is basically taking the black vote for granted. They're sitting back and saying, "Look, blacks hate George Bush, and they hate him so much that they'll vote for anybody, even the local dog catcher." And John Kerry is the dogcatcher at the moment.
COLMES: Kerry gets bad rap because he has a number of African-Americans in his campaign. He's got Marcus Jeda (ph), deputy -- the manager.
KING: And the only people he's brought forward in the last couple of months to answer some of the critics who challenge him.
DANIELS: There have been others that have been with him. The young dynamic congressman from Memphis, Harold Ford.
COLMES: You could go down the list.
DANIELS: And Stephanie Tubbs-Jones out in Cleveland has been a part of the campaign. There are people there, but people want more. And they want more in terms of...
COLMES: So can John Kerry do a better job in terms of reaching out to the African-American community? And why is he being criticized for this?
KING: All Kerry is doing is showing...
COLMES: Let Ron do that one.
DANIELS: I think historically we have a sense that black people are taken for granted. So a number of voices are being raised to say don't take us for granted.
In fact, for example, Maynard Jackson criticized Gore for his strategy last time. He didn't think that there were certain states were written off that Maynard Jackson didn't think should be written off. He should have listened more, Gore, to in fact, blacks in terms of the strategy questions.
So it's about the message. It's about the strategy and inclusion in resources.
KING: You mentioned Maynard Jackson. He was taken for granted by the party itself. Think in terms of the whole leadership battle between Maynard Jackson and McAuliffe.
NORTH: Michael, let me come back to you just a second. Help me out here. Why is it that you're asking for politicians to play the race card? Because that's what this is.
KING: No, no, no.
NORTH: You're saying the African-American community, the Hispanic community and the white community, does it -- why not just appeal to American voters? I'm just curious.
DANIELS: I want to help you with your curiosity.
NORTH: What's wrong with lower taxes? What's wrong with higher moral standards, better schools, and quite frankly, the fact that, Colin Powell and Condi Rice just happen to be black. And there are more senior black officials than any administration.
DANIELS: Great point. And some people say...
NORTH: What's he got to do?
DANIELS: That's the three C's. That's the three C's -- disease, I called it -- Condoleezza, Clarence and Colin. And it's not really about color; it's about ideology.
And so we want to talk about 50 percent unemployment in New York of black men. That just happens to be the case here. And we're talking about the question that we have more black men in prison now than in colleges and universities.
What kind of policies are going to be...
KING: What happened to personal responsibility in that equation?
DANIELS: Well, I'm for personal responsibility. I think you won't find any African-American leader who's not for personal responsibility.
The question is, we have environments which also are not conducive to large numbers of African-Americans...
KING: Personality responsibility plays into that as well.
NORTH: Take the party labels off for a second and give me three policies that you think any administration ought to do that would appeal to the, quote, "black community "that ought to be -- that would help the problem of crime, the problem of absentee fathers, the problem of bad schools...
DANIELS: I'll give you one, in terms of urban areas, and that's the domestic Marshall plan. If we can spend billions of dollars in -- and the amount of exception to, which is what Martin Luther King would call it in Iraq.
We certainly should be able to find the same resources to make sure we have quality schools, that we, in fact, rebuild the inner cities, that we have housing and health care.
NORTH: ... be any good. People are flying airplanes into buildings and we can't stop terrorism. You know we have a war on.
DANIEL: Yes, there's war on. I'm dealing with the war on terror. I'm talking about Iraq. I didn't talk about Afghanistan.
NORTH: It's a war on terror. I just got back from Iraq. I'm going back out there in a couple of weeks. It's a war. It's a war on terrorism.
DANIELS: Well, you say it's a war on terrorism. And I'm saying that one of the problems is the United States had no business going into Iraq in the first place.
COLMES: That's immaterial to the point here.
DANIELS: It could do a good job in terms of building in this country.
NORTH: Michael, you answer my question for me. What is it that the, quote, "black community" wants from any politician, forget the party label.
KING: Black -- the black middle class, black America is looking for the same thing that everybody else is looking for: safe streets, safe streets, good schools, lower taxes, a decent place to eat, everything, as far as that's concerned.
COLMES: We're out of time. Thank you very much.
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