Laura Ingraham and Rep. Charles Rangel Spar on 'The O'Reilly Factor'

New York congressman and radio host go head to head over Rep. West's controversial comments, poverty in black communities, Obama's policies


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 18, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight: a huge reaction to a segment we did last night on "The Factor" about frustration in some parts of the African-American community with President Obama. As we mentioned, the black unemployment rate in the United States is now at about 16 percent, which is a lot higher than the overall unemployment rate, which is about nine percent. We spoke with Florida Republican Congressman Allen West, who leveled some very serious charges against the entire Democratic Party.


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 have been disregarded, disrespected and their concerns are not cared about. Look at the devastation in the black communities. You look at what has happened to the inner cities of Chicago or Detroit.


INGRAHAM: With us now to respond, New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel, a longtime member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Congressman, it's great to see you. I know you watched last night. You have some thoughts. What are they?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-N.Y.: I'm really surprised at Congressman West going back to Harriet Tubman, who was a historic figure during slavery time, and I know he is new and he is a freshman and the more TV you get before an election is very important. But he doesn't come from a political party that can ridicule plantations and that type of thing. I really think at this time with the unemployment that you have recently shown, it's not just blacks, even though we doubled the national average, but it's every American. And they are fed up with us down in Washington fighting each other. All we have to do is come together on job creation, then we can go on and fight. There are plenty of things to fight about.

INGRAHAM: Well, there certainly are. And so you are saying that Congressman West, as an African-American, cannot use a plantation analogy? He is not allowed to use that? I'm trying to figure out what words we can use and what words we can't use. I'm very confused by this.

RANGEL: What do you mean we can't? Are you confused about whether or not you can use plantations when you're a black Republican?

INGRAHAM: No. He believes and the substance of what he says, I think, is very clear. Others such as Walter Williams, Tom Sowell, I guess they are not authentically black either, so they can't say that. They've also made similar analogies.

RANGEL: Let me…

INGRAHAM: Let me finish, sir.


INGRAHAM: What they said is that basically the war on poverty might have been started with a great deal of good intentions has been an utter failure for many minority communities in the United States, in the inner city and the school system. We have seen increasing problems, both within the family, within unemployment, across the board problems. Has the war on poverty been a success in your mind?

RANGEL: Now, this is something entirely different from what you just asked.

INGRAHAM: No, it's actually all tied together.

RANGEL: Laura, you just -- you were talking about Harriett Tubman and plantations.

INGRAHAM: It's a criticism. It's a substantive criticism.

RANGEL: I don't care what he says. If you want to deal with the fact that something worked, then you are 100 percent right. We can talk about unemployment.

INGRAHAM: Has it worked?

RANGEL: No. But why…

INGRAHAM: Is liberalism working for the black community right now?

RANGEL: I swear, I wish I knew. You got a whole lot of different things. If you want to talk about the Empowerment Zone, which I passed and we have them all over the United States. That has worked.

INGRAHAM: I asked a simple question. You won't answer the question.

RANGEL: No. Liberalism and conservative…

INGRAHAM: The war on poverty brought about a number of larger government programs that promised empowerment to the inner city, poor people, minorities. Did it work? It's an objective question. Did it work?

RANGEL: Listen, you find this Republican wants to talk about plantations and Tubman…

INGRAHAM: No, I think he is making a point.

RANGEL: He is and now you want to make the point about Lyndon Johnson, the war against poverty. We are going through a period today of high unemployment.

INGRAHAM: What has liberalism done for you lately? What has President Obama done for the black community in two and a half years? I think that's a very serious question. I think it's an important question.

RANGEL: You haven't asked that. You've asked a half a dozen questions.

INGRAHAM: You seem to want to quarrel with the wording of questions instead of get to the substance of the question. I'm really delighted you came on.

RANGEL: Listen, I'm glad I came, too.

INGRAHAM: So, let's start over. Let's try to start over.

RANGEL: OK. Now, forget all the Tubman, plantation and all of that.

INGRAHAM: Colonel Allen West was making a very provocative point indeed. A lot of people have used a lot of colorful language over the years on the left and the right. I think both have. Maxine Waters is clearly very frustrated right now with the president. She let loose on him yesterday saying, look, he is not coming into any black communities. She's coming at it from her perspective. Allen West is coming at it from his. I would ask you: Has the president's economic plans, have they panned out for minority communities especially?

RANGEL: Heck no because the Republicans made up their mind and as soon as he got elected…

INGRAHAM: OK. Go ahead.

RANGEL: Thank you so much. You know, your questions really sound like little mini speeches.

INGRAHAM: No, maybe you don't get real questions from real people. I don't know.

RANGEL: This is your show, but what about real answers?

INGRAHAM: You had a Democratic House, a filibuster-proof Senate and the White House in Democratic hands. OK? You had that for the first two years. Can't blame Republicans for those two years or can you?

RANGEL: We can say what the man inherited if you would permit me to say it.

INGRAHAM: Those two years you guys were fully in charge. No Republican House. Did it work out?

RANGEL: We had two wars that we shouldn't have been in.

INGRAHAM: OK, it's Bush's fault.

RANGEL: Let me say this. That Bill O'Reilly told me he had a secret weapon, I didn't know it was just a pretty girl that he would bring in.

INGRAHAM: That's very condescending, sir. A pretty girl. These are serious questions.

RANGEL: You have asked me 50 questions.


RANGEL: I'm begging you. OK, I'm begging you.

INGRAHAM: OK, let's hear an answer. You are not answering any of the questions.

RANGEL: I'm begging you to leave all the plantation stuff and this.

INGRAHAM: We have moved beyond the plantation.

RANGEL: Leave out Johnson and the poverty program.

INGRAHAM: But that's actually a serious question.

RANGEL: And just ask me one question at a time.

INGRAHAM: I have asked four questions and you haven't answered.

RANGEL: The last question that we had a Democratic president who inherited a heck of a deficit, and he inherited a couple of wars, and then after we lost the majority in the House. I think it's safe to say that the Republicans took the position that their primary objective was not to work with him but to get rid of Obama. And so even while we wait now, the president's on vacation and we're waiting for this job program…

INGRAHAM: Should the president have taken a vacation?

RANGEL: We have a half a dozen bills that we had brought out.

INGRAHAM: You guys hadn't passed a budget, sir, in what was it, 600, 700 or 800 days when the Democrats had the opportunity to pass a budget.

RANGEL: I want to let you know one thing. People in America who are unemployed aren't thinking about your budget. They are thinking about getting a job.

INGRAHAM: I'm not in Congress actually. You are in Congress.

RANGEL: I said people who are out of work, that lost their homes, that lost their jobs.

INGRAHAM: Maybe they are looking at Washington…

RANGEL: They did this on the Republican -- they did this on the Republican thing. This is what happened. This is what we inherited.

INGRAHAM: Congressman, at some point does the buck stop at the White House?

RANGEL: It does, but we can't say that we didn't inherit a lousy economy, high unemployment, a high deficit.

INGRAHAM: Why was he elected? He was elected because he had ideas, right? He sold those ideas to the public…

RANGEL: You bet.

INGRAHAM: …and then you lost in the midterms like it happens. People are up. People are down. No doubt about it.

RANGEL: There was an assumption that Republicans would put the country above their politics. It was clear. The polls see it clearly that Republicans would rather this country go down and default on this international obligation.

INGRAHAM: They're not patriotic. You are questioning their patriotism?

RANGEL: I'm questioning the fact that they were prepared to allow the country to go and they admit this and they were on television saying it.

INGRAHAM: Who's they?

RANGEL: They are the candidates that are running against Obama.

INGRAHAM: The Congress -- actually in the end the debt ceiling was raised and the president signed the bill, sir.

RANGEL: Did you see any of the 10 candidates? They asked them…

INGRAHAM: Why talk about the candidates? You will not answer a simple question. Has Obama worked for the inner city?

RANGEL: No. Nobody has.

INGRAHAM: Good. That's a great answer. That's a truthful and good answer.

RANGEL: And the country hasn't worked for the country either. And it's not just the inner cities. We have got white people, middle-class people whose dreams have been shattered.

INGRAHAM: I agree with you.

RANGEL: I'm not talking about the Bush administration or the Obama administration. No one cares which administration it was. America is made of people who dream and have hope that they can have a better life. That was snatched from them and Obama has not restored that hope that was taken from them by George Bush.

INGRAHAM: Thank you, congressman.

RANGEL: I have to quit?

INGRAHAM: I wish we had the whole hour.

RANGEL: I welcome coming back. I'm sorry I said you were attractive. I withdraw that completely.

INGRAHAM: That's alright. I was going to make a joke about the condo in the Dominican Republic. I didn't make it out of respect for you. So I appreciate your time. He should have taken your condo instead of gone to Martha's Vineyard. In a moment…

RANGEL: The condo actually wasn't worth that much money.

INGRAHAM: Better than Martha's Vineyard.

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