This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 17, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: On Tuesday's Democratic debate, Clinton and Obama appeared to bury the hatchet in their recent race war. Can the Obama campaign forgive Clinton supporter and BET founder Robert Johnson for the comment he made on Sunday?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT JOHNSON, BET FOUNDER: I am, frankly, insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues, when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: Now, today, Johnson issued a formal apology, writing, quote, "in my zeal to support Senator Clinton, I made some very inappropriate remarks for which I am truly sorry. I hope that you will accept this apology."
Joining us now is the author of "The Seven Guaranteed Steps to Spiritual Family and Financial Success," Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, and Temple University Professor Dr. Marc Lamont Hill.
And Jesse, I think people can misspeak, speak out of turn and then come forward and say look, I shouldn't have said it. It was my zeal. I was excited. And have an opportunity to revisit your remark and say here's what I really meant to say? Do you agree with that?
REV JESSE LEE PETERSON, BONDINFO.ORG: I agree, Alan, and it's OK to accept an apology. But it's not Barack Obama who thinks that black liberals are stupid. It's Bill and Hillary Clinton.
COLMES: When did they say that? I must have missed that.
PETERSON: Let me tell you this, I said during the New Hampshire primary, when it appeared that Hillary Clinton may lose, that once she left there, she and Bill were going to start — create a race issue, between black liberals and white liberals...
COLMES: According to whom?
PETERSON: ...And the reason for that — and then they're going to step back and pretend that they had nothing to do with it —
COLMES: According to whom?
PETERSON: Let me say this and then I'll answer the question; the reason they're doing that is because a lot of white liberals are supporting Barack Obama. And I think we all would agree that Bill and Hillary Clinton love power more than anything else on Earth and —
COLMES: Hold on, Jesse. Before you go on your tyrade against the Clintons — you're making a bunch of charges here. Who's saying this?
PETERSON: Let me finish and then you will see. They also know — Bill and Hillary know how to — they know how to manipulate the hearts and minds of black liberals. So what they want is to get the white liberals to vote for them, a few blacks. And once Hillary is nominated to represent the Democratic party, now she's up against a Republican, and all she has to do is go into the black church, pretend that she's — she knows Jesus, hoop and holler —
COLMES: Do you know what's in her heart? Do you know — hold on, reverend, we've only got a short time. You're making a whole speech. You're making unfounded accusations about what you think the Clintons would do or would have done. Let me show you what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are actually saying to and about each other.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically and consistently been on the right side of civil right issues. I think that they care about the African-American community and they care about all Americans. And they want to see equal rights and equal justice in this country.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I certainly have the highest regard for both Senator Obama and Senator Edwards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: Dr. Hill, what they're trying to do on the right is divide and conquer and try to make believe there's some kind of race or gender war going on that isn't happening.
DR. MARC LAMONT HILL, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: Well, you know Alan, on some level, of course, the right strategy has always been to divide and conquer. At the same time, we do have to take seriously the way in which the Clinton campaign has managed to manipulate race and the racial sensibilities of black people from 1992 until 2008.
That's not — and I don't necessarily agree with Jesse Lee's point all the way through, but we certainly have to understand that the Clinton campaign — it's in their best interest to say they're above this racial war.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: But we've got to keep looking at the history here. Reverend Peterson, Dr. Hill, good to see you both. Thanks for being with us. But Jesse Lee, this is now a patter; the surrogates of the Clintons, and that means Bob Kerrey, that means the former governor of New Hampshire's husband, that means the founder of BET, that means Charlie Rangel, they've all come out and made these, you know, taken these shots at Barack Obama, drug use, suggested drug dealing, Barack Hussein Obama, madrassa; all this stuff has been dropped. And then they apologize, but it's already gotten out there.
And then they get to keep their hands clean. It's — this is typical Clinton smear 101, isn't it?
PETERSON: That's how they operate. They're always behind the scene pretending that they're not manipulating the situation when they really are. And that's what is happening. And I have to say, I don't support either one, Barack or Hillary. I think they're both bad for our country.
HILL: There's a surprise.
PETERSON: But, but, because black Americans — liberal blacks have been on the plantation of the Democratic party for so long, if anyone knows how to manipulate their mind, it's Bill and Hillary.
HANNITY: I want to ask you as a pastor — then we'll allow Dr. Hill to respond to this ...
HILL: That would be great
HANNITY: ... This is the issue of Barack Obama's pastor, and his adherence to what he calls the black value system. I asked him about it on this very show. You know, he asked his congregation to commit themselves to adherence to the black work ethic, the black family, the black value system, acquire skills available to the black community, strengthen and support black institutions, pledge allegiance to the black leadership who have embraced the black value system, and then we found out this week that he also gave an award and said about Louis Farrakhan, a racist and anti-semite, that this is a man who truly epitomized greatness.
Now, if every Republican associated themselves with an anti-semite racist, and if you replaced the word black with white and went to that type of church, wouldn't that be a huge deal in this campaign, reverend?
PETERSON: They would not allow it to happen. There's a double standard in America today. Liberal blacks can do and say whatever they want and get away with it. We all know that Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. is a racist. Anyone that supports Farrakhan — and I also have to say real fast is that God — if you're born again of the nature of God, then you're of the spirit, not of the color.
HANNITY: Marc, let me ask you this. Barack Obama's pastor says he truly — what did he say, truly epitomized greatness, about a racist and anti-semite, Farrakhan, and then he talks about the black value system. Why not the Christian value system?
HILL: Well, first of all, to say that if that happened to a Republican, it would be different, is untrue. How many Republican presidents have embraced Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, other —
HANNITY: They're not racists and anti-Semites, sir. That's not the same as gutter religion and the right man is the skunk of the planet earth.
HILL: They're racist. They're homophobic.
HANNITY: No they're not racist. Jerry Fallwell is not a racist. That's a despicable comment, and it's not true.
HILL: I find it to be true. But also let me go further...
HANNITY: You find it to be true, but you cannot quote on this program one thing that would back that up.
HILL: We can certainly say that Jerry Fallwell is homophobic. The bigger issue here is Jeremiah Wright's church here promotes black self-determination.
PETERSON: There's no such thing. Are you talking about ghetto values?
HANNITY: Alright, gentlemen. We've got to go.
HANNITY: I guarantee you we've not heard the end of this issue.
HILL: You haven't heard me at all.
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