This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", May 20, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: The Missouri Democratic Party, they've struck again, this time with a controversial billboard in downtown Kansas City. The billboard features an African-American man next to the words, "Missouri Republicans have a plan. You are not part of it."
And the Republicans are claiming this is a blatant case of race baiting. Joining us now from St. Louis is Jim Kottmeyer, who is the executive director of the Missouri Democratic Party and the man who came up with the ad, and the former mayor of St. Louis, Freeman Bosley.
So you guys, you gentlemen both are claiming this is not, in fact, race baiting at all?
JIM KOTTMEYER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MISSOURI DEMOCRATIC PARTY: No, not at all. I mean, this is the first ad in a series of ads that we are running. And again, if you would have seen on our Web site, ShowMeIssues.com, you'd see this is one of six billboard ads that we're running across the state.
HANNITY: Yes. Is this it the first one you've put up, though?
KOTTMEYER: This is the first one we put up. And shortly hereafter, we've got another one going up in St. Charles County out in West St. Louis County here that features someone who I guess you would stereotype as a soccer mom.
HANNITY: So that will be later the soccer mom comes up.
Let me tell you why -- and I'm going to be very blunt here and be honest with you. I don't believe you, and this is why. In 1998, the party in your state ran this ad.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you don't vote, you allow another cross to burn. When you don't vote, you let another assault wound a brother or sister. When you don't vote, you let the Republicans continue to cut school lunches and Head Start.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HANNITY: When you don't vote you allow another cross to burn? You allow another wound to hurt a brother or sister?
That was one of the -- wait. Your party ran one of the worst cases of race baiting I've ever seen in my life with that ad. And now -- So I don't see why I should give you the benefit of the doubt. Tell me why.
FREEMAN BOSLEY, FORMER MAYOR OF ST. LOUIS: Well, we're not necessarily asking you to believe us. We want you to get -- we want this ad to get people's attention because we're outraged with the way the Republican Party has conducted itself, not only in the state of the Missouri but in terms of the country.
They've cut health car. They've cut jobs. They've hurt the average person here in this community.
HANNITY: You know something? Here's what bothers me. You know something? Here's a president and administration that has done more in terms of putting African-Americans in positions of power than Bill Clinton did in the last eight years.
Here is -- Here is a Republican party that Lyndon Johnson needed to get the Civil Rights Act passed, the Voting Rights Act passed...
HANNITY: Here's Bill Clinton -- here's Al Gore's father.
KOTTMEYER: It's a lot more than being about African-Americans. It's about middle America.
HANNITY: Al Gore's father. No one could be found when we needed him for those crucial votes.
J. William Fulbright, a known segregationist, the mentor of Bill Clinton, and you have those guys in your past. And you have a Ku Klux Klan (search) guy that ran your Senate for you guys for awhile.
KOTTMEYER: Oh, give me a break. If you want to dredge up skeletons from the past, there are more than enough to dredge up in the Republican Party.
But what's important to remember here, take a look here in Missouri and in other states across this country. You know, we have over 89 percent of our Missourians who got less than $100 from this Bush tax cut.
Meanwhile, we're trying to put students through college. We're trying to -- you know, keep our people on the health care rolls. We had our state legislature here in Missouri vote to cut over 65,000 people off of Medicaid.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Here's what...
KOTTMEYER: We've cut millions from our education fund.
COLMES: It's Alan Colmes.
KOTTMEYER: Talk about a plan, this is a plan that devastates middle Americans, white, black, Hispanic.
COLMES: It's Alan. Good to have you on the show.
Here's what disturbs me about the accusations about this ad. They jump to the conclusion that it's somehow racist simply because an African-American is seen in an ad.
Just because somebody of color is seen in an ad to make a statement does not imbue that with racial qualities. Why jump to that conclusion?
BOSLEY: Well, because in this country, when white people do something in this country it's presumed to be legitimate. When black people do something, it's presumed to be suspect.
This ad is just one of many ads that will be appearing in the state over the next few months to hopefully get the attention of the people that live in this state about some of the problems that we're having.
And that's what the sign is all about.
COLMES: I went to your Web site, Jim, and saw there were a number of them, the soccer mom, all the other ones that you're eventually going to put up. What is it you're trying to say here? What are these people being excluded from specifically?
KOTTMEYER: Well, I think it's what average middle Americans are being excluded from. I mean, it's excluded from health insurance.
Again, like I said, here in Missouri we had 65,000 people who recently got -- would have been cut off the Medicaid rolls, had it not been for Democrats in the house and our governor.
COLMES: And those are not just black people? Those are not just white people? These are not just soccer moms?
KOTTMEYER: No, this is not just soccer moms. These are people in rural Missouri. These are people in urban, suburban Missouri.
I mean, look, you had John McCain (search) out there who was blasting his own party, because again you take a look at what this Republican Party is doing, right here and right now, not trying to dredge up stories from 150 years ago or the last 25, you know, but taking a look at what's going on today.
And this Republican Party has so completely lost its way that I think there's no other logical conclusion.
COLMES: And Mayor Bosley, do you -- Mayor Bosley, do you see how somebody could look at this and look at a racial -- or see a racial component, based on the ad we've been putting up on the screen? You see how that could misinterpret it?
BOSLEY: Of course I could. But you know, one thing my dad used to tell me, he said, "Son, some people just don't want to be confused with the facts."
And the facts are that the Republican Party has done a terrible job here in the state of Missouri. They cut over $114 million that impacted us here in the St. Louis area. We had to close over 16 schools. Talking about leaving no child behind, they left 16 neighborhoods behind here in the city of St. Louis.
HANNITY: And maybe locally you guys need to do more, I think, instead of -- All right. Guys, I just disagree with you. Appreciate you being with us.
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