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The Five

Justice Thomas on 'elites' and President Obama's election

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," May 3, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sat down for a very rare interview and it did not disappoint. One of the most powerful African-American conservatives in American history talking about the most powerful African-American liberal in American, Mr. President Obama.

First up, has he met the president? Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Well, in passing more. I mean, he visited the court. It's not like -- I don't do a lot of Washington. I'm not into politics. So, I mean there's not that many occasions. I shook hands with him at the inauguration. Just very polite. No, but I've had no in-depth conversations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: And then he was asked, is there common ground between the two men? Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: You know that's hard to say. It's like what common ground did I have with President Bush 43. I'm not into politics. I don't like politics. And I try no to -- I do my job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: And then things got really interesting. Here's what he thinks about Mr. Obama and how he got elected. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: The thing I always knew it would have to be a black president who was approved by the elites, the media, because anybody they didn't agree with they would take apart.

And that will happen with virtually -- you pick your person. Any black person, who says something that is not a prescribed things that they expect from a black person, it will be picked apart. You can pick anybody. Don't pick me. Pick anyone who has decided not to go along with it. There's a price to pay. So I always assumed it would be somebody the media had to agree with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: All right. Bob, you want to kick it off.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Well, I -- I mean, I think that is simplistic on his part, a lot simplistic. I mean, I'm not a big Clarence Thomas fan. But the idea of suggesting the reason Obama essentially got elected because he was the black guy that rest of America felt comfortable with and the medial felt comfortable with.

And if it was a conservative black man, he wouldn't get -- of course, he wouldn't get elected as a conservative black, because you wouldn't have a conservative black the head of Democratic ticket.

So, I think he takes away all of Obama's very good political skills, which are enormous.

BOLLING: Ands, what do you think?

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: I think she touching on something. I think if I look at the way historically, and I know he said, not me, but he is perfect example of how the media treats certain demographics that they feel belong squarely in their camp. And women is one.

And if you look at the way the media celebrated Hillary Clinton until Barack Obama got into the game, the media made a very conscious decision to say, you know what? We love the idea of the first female president but we love the idea of a President Obama more than a Clinton. And they actually single-handedly became the glass ceiling that stopped her, for sure.

BOLLING: You know, I think it's refreshing. I like seeing Clarence Thomas. I love seeing -- love hearing him talk. You don't hear it a lot.

And I think it's very refreshing that he comes out and says, look, I'm not in politics. I do my job. The Washington thing is not part of what I do. I do -- I rule on cases I see. He never once said, hey, look at me I'm the first black Supreme Court justice. He doesn't point the finger and say, look --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: I'm sorry. He's the first conservative black Supreme Court justice. He doesn't say that. He doesn't play that tune.

Greg, your thoughts?

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Black conservative is the actual interracial marriage that white liberals hate the most. Nothing makes -- people like Bob and the media malfunction more. It's like sticking a black fork in a white toaster and it just all of a sudden steam starts coming out.

Being a black Republican in 2013 is cooler than being a Black Panther in the 1970s. It's edgier. You take more risks.

The case in point, you take two -- Bob is laughing -- take two accomplished black men, you take Clarence Thomas and President Obama, one is beloved by the media and one is reviled. Why is that? It's the obvious racism of the media elites that believe that blacks should be kept in their place.

It's why they can't stand Allen West. Allen West is a war here. But he refuses to buy into their assumptions that make -- that basically keep him down.

BOLLING: Dana?

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: What?

(LAUGHTER)

BOLLING: You want to weigh in on Clarence Thomas?

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: The rare interview happens every six months. It's not that he never speaks. It is interesting to hear from him when he is not talking about the courts specifically. The follow-up question of -- by the interviewer, of do you have any common ground with President Obama, actually came after he said, "I never met him." So, how could he possibly have common ground?

Maybe they would have some common ground if they had a chance to discuss. I agree with Bob that it is dangerous for conservatives to think that they can win elections if they don't understand that the campaign prowess and the sophistication of the Obama team from 2004 when he was elected -- or 2006 and 2008 and 2012, that is juggernaut.

And there is genuine affection for President Obama from all sorts of people all around the country. And persuasion is a better way to get people to come around your point of view rather than to saying that, oh, well, then, he's just liked by the elite and that's why he got elected.

BOLLING: Also, he gets a lot of -- President Obama gets a lot of help from the media.

PERINO: That's true.

BOLLING: They absolutely sway their reporting to the Obama administration's debate. Bob, let me just role this sound bite first. Here is President Obama talking, and you don't hear a lot of this. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The rule that has been put forward by the FDA, Secretary Sebelius has reviewed, she is comfortable with. I'm comfortable with. I'm very comfortable with the decision they've made right now based on solid, scientific evidence for girls that are 15 and over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: So, we didn't see in any of the mainstream media morning shows. We didn't see them talking about it. So, he says -- President Obama says he's in favor of 15-year-olds being -- having access to the morning-after pill.

Where is the coverage? Besides here?

BECKEL: What -- first of all, you think -- this is a little bit tough segue here. We went from Clarence Thomas to the day-after pill. But I don't -- I mean, I don't think what he said was extraordinarily news making. I mean, I don't -- he has made this point before. Sebelius came out and said what she said and this judge went -- gave it, who said, forget that. It should be out anywhere in the drugstore, which we've talked about and I don't agree with all of that. But I don't see where the newsworthiness is.

BOLLING: Go ahead, Ands.

TANTAROS: Well, that's the point, though. Neither did the morning shows, "The Today" show that many parents watch and even I think you have pro-choice or Democratic mothers who are watching this and seeing this, they're saying, wait a minute, no, no, no, I don't want my 15-year-old to have access to this prescription without my knowledge or any prescription.

If I were a mother I would feel that way.

And the point is that the media didn't cover it. And in many states, Bob, it's statutory rape. And the fact that president commented on it today should be big news. And it's not.

They excuse it because it's highly radioactive and way in left field.

I mean, this is not a middle-of-the-road issue even I think for many Democrats.

BOLLING: Greg?

GUTFELD: I just wish there was morning-after pill for this administration. Am I right, America?

PERINO: Hear, hear.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLLING: Dana, what about it? Let's go --

PERINO: Well, he -- the part that interested me when he said it is based on scientific evidence. It still bothers me. Science is going to be able to do a lot of things in the future. That doesn't mean -- necessarily mean should then say, whatever science is able to do that we should bless it.

Common sense, decency, good judgment, responsibility -- those types of things have to factor into leadership at some point.

BOLLING: All right. Can we do one more sound bite? And, Bob, don't kill me this is a hard turn for you again.

Nancy Pelosi, the media has given President Obama pass in 2008. It built -- they put him on the pedestal in 2012. Listen to Nancy Pelosi now looking forward to 2016. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: I pray that Hillary Clinton decides to run for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

Let's set aside for a moment the fact that she is a woman. As a person, she will be the most qualified person to enter the White House in modern history.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: Greg, your thoughts.

GUTFELD: Yes, she is right if modern history started in 2008. That was a total dig on Obama. I couldn't believe she'd say that.

She's going to get a free ride. We know Hillary is going to get a free ride. It's what you said before. She had a free ride up until Obama.

The media wants to be cool, especially in history. So, they want ushering the first woman president. It's how they rallied around Obama. By 2026, if we don't have our little person president, I'm going to move to Trinidad or Tobago.

TANTAROS: I would say Trinidad is better.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTFELD: You are going to lose fans.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: Thoughts, Ands, the most qualified president in modern history.

TANTAROS: Based on what?

BOLLING: I don't know.

TANTAROS: She was former first lady but if you look at the resume of other people who have run for president. I'm looking for a big accomplishments that Hillary Clinton has done. Her tenure at the State Department was nothing short of -- I don't want to say it based on Benghazi -- a failure. That 3:00 a.m. phone call went to her and ignored. We know that for a fact based on hearings but they will ignore it.

I assure you, Benghazi will not be an issue if she runs for president. The slogan in 2008 was "It's my turn." In 2016, it will be, "It's really my turn."

(LAUGHTER)

PERINO: I think Pelosi is wrong for another reason and that is very inside the Beltway type of thinking. The experience that has mattered for very successful presidents in the past has been a governorship, including the one that her husband had, because you actually have to manage and you are the executor of the state. You have to have a budget. You can't rack up air miles and say, what an accomplishment.

So, there could be a governor maybe on the Democratic side. There's not as many.

But I tend to think in a year like 2016 there might be somebody from outside the Beltway, outside the establishment, shall I say, that is sought there in the country that is actually connected with what Americans care about.

BOLLING: On the right.

PERINO: On the left, too.

BOLLING: You think somebody else is going to give here a run?

BECKEL: First of all, I am going to take an exception about her failure as a secretary of state. I can't think of a secretary of state has been a better success in many ways.

TANTAROS: We have four dead Americans. We haven't had an ambassador killed, Bob, in 40 years.

BECKEL: Wait a minute. NATO is stronger. Pacific Rim countries are closer to us that they've been in a very long time. She has taken the case for women around the world and done a very good job with it. She's handled a number of things and kept the United States at the forefront at the time we were slipping.

So, I don't --

TANTAROS: But her job is to keep the people that worked for her, the diplomats safe. And she did not --

BECKEL: You can't pick out just Benghazi --

(CROSSTALK)

TANTAROS: What did she do? Her dance moves in the Congo, Bob? I mean, what is so great about her tenure?

BECKEL: You can't grade on one event like this. I've said that there was a failure of a lot of things that --

TANTAROS: They graded Bush on the far left.

BECKEL: Can we get beyond that in some point? Is it possible to get beyond that?

BOLLING: Bob, there are people some would say, one of the most important attributes to a president would be military service. Can we throw up the full screen?

Let's take a look at the most recent, as Hillary would put it, modern history presidents, do you have that?

All right. We don't have it.

OK, so President Obama, no military service. President Bush had a Texas air guard.

PERINO: The National Guard.

BOLLING: President Clinton no military service.

President Bush 41 had a military service. He was a president.

And President Reagan was a captain in the Army.

BECKEL: President Reagan was a captain in the Army. That's right. He was a captain in the Army. He made movies for the military. That's -- I don't consider that to be strong military experience.

She was on the Armed Services Committee. Interesting enough, the Pentagon they like her very much.

PERINO: That's true.

BOLLING: Thoughts?

GUTFELD: I always think military service is important part of anybody's resume. I say that at 48 because I can't be registered.

BOLLING: We shall leave it there.

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