This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: Barack Obama has tried to distance himself from Ludacris after the rapper put out a vile pro-Obama song completely disrespecting Hillary Clinton, John McCain and President Bush.
Now some video has surfaced from 2004 of the senator talking about a popular Snoop Dogg song and Chicago hip-hop radio station.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So my 3-year-old, she especially loves GCI. That song "Drop It Like It's Hot," she thinks it's "Drop It Like a Sock." She's singing it in the back, "Drop it like a sock, drop it like a sock." She loves GCI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: OK. The question is: Is America ready for a president who seems to embrace hip-hop music?
Joining us now from New York, my old friend John McWhorter, author of the book "All About the Beat: Why Hip-Hop Cannot Save Black America."
John, that video was actually quite amusing. I mean...
JOHN MCWHORTER, AUTHOR, "ALL ABOUT THE BEAT": It is.
INGRAHAM: ...he's moving to the music and he's going with it. But this Ludacris thing was truly ludicrous. I mean, this riff — I can't believe it's called a song. But this thing that was released, talking about the only chair John McCain should have is basically a wheelchair, being paralyzed. I mean, I don't understand how Barack Obama can say, even in a statement by his campaign staff, that this guy has talent. What talent does that take?
MCWHORTER: The fact is I'm not going to stick up for that particular song, although I think if anyone is surprised that he's a little bit cheeky, it's kind of like being surprised that somebody wrote an opera that had notes in it. I mean, that's just what a lot of hip-hop is all about.
But the fact of the matter is, that if you listen to Ludacris — and this is coming from, you know, stodgy, politically incorrect me — if you listen to Ludacris, he is a hip-hop artist. A lot of this stuff is actually more fun than you might think. Some of it really does stick with you.
MCWHORTER: ...and needless to say, all of it is not about these sorts of terrible things. So I can see why Obama would have liked Ludacris' past work, but it puts him in an awkward position.
INGRAHAM: I think the one song, again, I say from Ludacris that I looked up on the Internet before I came on here tonight was — I think it was called "Bad Boys" or something like — something with boys.
INGRAHAM: I was going to make a graphic of this for our viewers. It is so filthy. It's not cheeky, John. I think by saying it's cheeky, you really — you understand how poisonous this stuff is, talking about women as whores, using the n-word, the f-word. I mean, every word you can imagine in the most really demeaning way.
And my point is that Barack Obama tries to have it both ways. He's an artist. So, you know, Snoop Dogg is on his daughter's iPod, and despite some of the Snoop Dogg lyrics even in that song, I don't see how this is helpful. I really don't. I guess it's helpful for the hip-hop vote.
MCWHORTER: Well, you know, I would also try this, that just like people seem to be surprised in this case that, so to speak, an opera has notes, everybody is kind of surprised or appalled when poor Obama turns out to be a politician.
And the fact is, if you are 46 years young and you are black and you're running for president today, then you need to have a kind of a saxophone-playing cool factor. He doesn't play the saxophone. And so, of course, you have to have some kind of allegiance to hip-hop. And since so much of the most prominent hip-hop does happen to be filthy, then you're going to have to have a big toe in it. I'm not surprised that he's doing it. It is a funny position to be in though.
INGRAHAM: Well, I think we've got to remember this election right now, John, is about the middle of the country. The coasts are set for Obama. The middle of the country, those states, Obama and McCain have to fight over.
And I think in Ohio, Michigan, I don't think this stuff — this kind of stuff plays well. I don't think it has anything to do with race. I think it has everything to do with decency. You know, Obama wants to come across as a decent, upstanding, inspirational guy. I just don't think this helps.
But hey, John, we love the book, and thank you for being with us.
MCWHORTER: Thank you, Laura.
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