Is President Obama Taking Black Community for Granted?

Rep. Allen West weighs in on rowdy Congressional Black Caucus town hall


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 17, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment: The Obama economy is hurting all Americans, but many of the hardest hit are in the African-American community. In fact, the black unemployment rate is at about 16 percent, which is a lot higher than the overall unemployment rate, which is at about nine percent now. And some powerful Democrats are not happy with the president's treatment of the black community, starting with Congresswoman Maxine Waters.


REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CALIF.: The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president, too. We are supportive of the president but we are getting tired of it. And so what we want to do is we want to give the president every opportunity…



WATERS: …to show what he can do and what he is prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting.


WATERS: The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the 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. All I'm saying to you is we are politicians. We are elected officials. We are trying to do the right thing and the best thing. When you let us know it is time to let go, we'll let go.

CROWD: Let go!


INGRAHAM: I like all the shout backs. That was classic. And joining us now from south Florida, Republican Congressman Allen West, who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Now, Congressman West, I'm watching this unfold and thinking to myself, well, Maxine Waters is angry because black unemployment and black foreclosure rates, we're angry about all of this stuff but what's really going on here with the new kind of storyline that African-Americans are growing unhappy with President Obama?

REP. ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: Well, I think, Laura, when you look at what is happening, the laughable hypocrisy is that the big black bus is not going into the black community. When you had unemployment in the black community, 16.3 percent in July and it dropped down to 15.9 percent for the month of August, that's not in the right direction. So you have this 21st century plantation that has been out there where the Democratic 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 the plantation are upset because they have 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.

INGRAHAM: Now, you are saying Maxine Waters is the plantation boss at this point?

WEST: Well, absolutely because what you end up having, you know, I'm going to be brutally honest, is that white liberals have turned over to certain leaders, "perceived leaders" in the black community like a Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Maxine Waters or Barbara Lee and said, you know, pacify and keep the black community firmly behind us regardless of the failures of our social welfare policies. You look at the devastation in the black communities. You look at what's happened in the inner cities of Chicago or Detroit. You look at the riots and the things that are happening already in Philadelphia.

INGRAHAM: The flash mobs. Where the heck is Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters on the flash mobs? Where are they on those?

WEST: That's my point. That's the absence of this "leadership" in the black community which, as I say, are nothing more than overseers of this 21st century plantation. So the Republican Party has not done very well in reaching out. And I think that's where we have an opportunity to show that the conservative principles and values that really are the cornerstone and bedrock of the black community: individual responsibility and accountability, faith and family, hard work ethic. Those are the type of things we can reconnect to the black community and once again get a thriving economic community within our inner cities.

INGRAHAM: Now, today the president continued the bus tour. I guess it's mercifully coming to an end, but he is continuing the bus tour. And he talked about how innovation also leads to fewer jobs because, you know, you have all these computerized I guess the situations where you have, you don't need people because you have great technology. You have ATM machines where you used have to bank tellers. And I'm thinking to myself, OK, now innovation is to blame for the loss of jobs. It's either the Republicans' fault, the Tea Party's fault, the mean Congress, or now innovation and modernization is the problem.

WEST: Yes, you are absolutely right. And don't forget the Arab Spring and the cut of the flow of oil or the weather event and the tsunami and earthquake that occurred in Japan. Look, this president, his excuse game, the continual whining is not becoming of the leader of the free world, the leader of the United States of America, the greatest nation the world has ever known. And when you think about investment, ingenuity and innovation, that's free market and free enterprise principles. That's what made America what it is in 235 years, the ability for us to advance through technology and build this great nation. And if this president does not understand that then we are never going to turn around the economic situation.

INGRAHAM: Wait, congressman, he said he has a plan.

WEST: I have been hearing that a lot.

INGRAHAM: Right, but it's coming out at some point in September and the details are going to be coming out then.

WEST: After vacation.

INGRAHAM: Yes. But he deserves a vacation don't you think after all these work?

WEST: Well, let me tell you. I'm just an old soldier who spent 22 years in the military, and as I said to many people here in the district I have been talking to them. This is DEFCON 1, Defense Condition 1. That means all leaves and passes are canceled. All hands on deck. And we should be all in Washington, D.C., hammering out how we can get this country back on the right footing about our economy and about our long-term sustainable job growth.

INGRAHAM: So should you all be coming back to Washington?

WEST: Yes, absolutely. I have been saying that since we had the S&P downgrade. You know, Laura, right now you know we have 12 appropriations bills that that have to be passed out of the House and through the Senate. We have only done six in the House. The Senate has only taken up one. We're sitting around saying we are on constituent work periods, but the constituents want us to be working up there in Washington, D.C., so that maybe fiscal year 2012 we don't have to hear the words continuing resolution and omnibus again.

INGRAHAM: Have you told John Boehner that you all should be back at work?

WEST: I sent an e-mail to the majority leader and the majority whip about that.

INGRAHAM: What was the response?

WEST: Haven't heard anything.

INGRAHAM: Oh, OK. And what are you going to do about that 13 percent congressional approval rating? That's pretty low too, congressman.

WEST: Well, I have got to tell you, that's part and parcel of what the American people see as, you know, they don't see any leadership coming out of Washington, D.C., so all I can do is try to stand and rectify the situation from my little foxhole.

INGRAHAM: All right. Congressman Allen West, great to see you. Thanks so much.

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