Raising a Ruckus

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 24, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Welcome to "Hannity & Colmes." We're glad you're with us. I'm Sean Hannity. We'll get right to our top story. The Clinton/Obama war has entered another new phase. While campaigning in South Carolina, former President Clinton said that Hillary Clinton could lose Saturday's primary because many African-Americans in the Palmetto State will likely vote for Senator Obama.

The former president also got into a heated exchange with a reporter over the topic, you guessed it, race.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What you care about is this, and the Obama people know that. So they just spin you up on this, and you happily go along. The people don't care about this.

He doesn't care what happens. He just knows he can call you a name, and you guys will cover it. They did not ask about this, and you don't care what your own people care about.

You're asking me about this. You sat through this whole meeting. Not one single, solitary soul asked about any of this, and they never do. They're feeding you this because they know this is what you want to cover. This is what you live for.


HANNITY: Even as both campaigns continue to say that race should not be a factor in the race, there it is, it keeps popping up. Joining us now, nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts Armstrong Williams and Michael Reagan. Also the assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University, author of "Republicans and The Black Vote," Michael Fauntroy is with us.

All right, Armstrong, let me start with you. He also said one other thing, suggesting that if Hillary loses in South Carolina it's going to be because African-Americans, the black vote, went to Barack Obama. Is that, in and of itself, racial?

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: On former President Bill Clinton's part — I've got to tell you, many people in South Carolina who watched the debate in Myrtle Beach found her to be really nasty and sort of pretty disgusting. You noticed, she was booed when she mentioned the slum lord comment. The fact is, Mrs. Clinton, South Carolina was hers to lose, being a native of the state.

HANNITY: But Armstrong, he's suggesting — this is the former president suggesting that his wife, Hillary Clinton, may lose the primary in South Carolina because black voters will side with Barack Obama because he's black.

WILLIAMS: They're siding and going along with Senator Barack Obama because they think he's the better candidate after watching both and examining their records. She may inject race. He may do it because he realizes that she doesn't have much to cling on to. That's true. She is losing that vote. It's not because of race. It's because they think he's a better candidate.

HANNITY: Michael Fauntroy, your thoughts?

MICHAEL FAUNTROY, AUTHOR, "REPUBLICANS AND THE BLACK VOTE": I think it has absolutely nothing to do with President Clinton trying to inject race into this. He doesn't benefit, neither does Senator Clinton, by doing that. The reality is, when this campaign started, Senator Clinton had an overwhelming majority of black votes. They began to move toward Obama when Obama became more known to them as voters.

And as he began to campaign in the state more and black voters became more comfortable with him, then something natural happened and that is African-Americans saw for the first time an opportunity to vote for somebody who could actually be president. And that's no different than what happens with women around the country...

HANNITY: Wait a minute...

FAUNTROY: ...some are supporting Senator Clinton just for that reason. And it also has nothing to do with

HANNITY: Michael, wait a minute...

FAUNTROY: ...I'm almost done — it has nothing to do with why, for example, so many Mormons are supporting Mitt Romney.

HANNITY: So, it's perfectly acceptable if somebody votes for a white candidate because they're white?

FAUNTROY: Let me tell you what's perfectly unacceptable —

HANNITY: No, no, no. Stop. Michael, stop.


FAUNTROY: The point is certainly this; it is wrong to vote against someone because of what they look like or what they believe.

HANNITY: But it's — now — please, this is a simple question.

FAUNTROY: It is perfectly —

HANNITY: Michael —

FAUNTROY: It's perfectly natural for Italians to support Rudy Giuliani, just as it's perfectly —

HANNITY: You don't want to answer my question. And I'm going to ask you up or down. Stop with the lectures. I want a simple answer. So it's acceptable to you for somebody to express that they're going to vote for a candidate because they are white? That's OK with you?

FAUNTROY: It is understandable human nature.

HANNITY: It is? Michael Reagan, do you agree, and your thoughts on Bill Clinton, his angry outburst, and him saying that Barack Obama put a hit job out on me?

MICHAEL REAGAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Sean, the reality of it is Bill Clinton is trying to set this up to blame the blacks in South Carolina for the loss that his wife is going to incur —

ALAN COLMES, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: That's ridiculous.

REAGAN: — on this Saturday. That's what's going on.

COLMES: Absolutely ridiculous.

REAGAN: Listen, that's what Democrats do, Alan.

COLMES: Michael, what Bill Clinton was doing —

REAGAN: ...They try to blame someone else other than the candidate.

COLMES: Michael.

REAGAN: Armstrong is right, about what he says, but the other side is right too.

COLMES: Michael.

REAGAN: Let's affix blame.


COLMES: What President Reagan was doing was talking about what the polls were showing —

REAGAN: President Reagan?

COLMES: Excuse me, I was talking to Michael Reagan. I'm thinking of President Reagan. What President Clinton was doing was talking about what the polls were reflecting. The polls were reflecting that African-American — that the African- American vote in South Carolina is likely to go to Barack Obama. That's what the polls show, Michael Reagan. That's not being racist.

REAGAN: Alan, Alan, Alan.

COLMES: That's pointing out what is political reality in South Carolina right now.

REAGAN: Alan. Alan, you're right, because the blacks chose the better candidate. But when this is all said and done, what he's really saying is, the black vote left Hillary and left me, went to Barack Obama, and it's their — they're the reason, in fact, why my wife is going to lose, and ultimately will lose on Saturday.

COLMES: You want to make it racial. You want to accuse the Clintons of being racial. You want to accuse the Clintons of blaming blacks. And, Armstrong Williams, it's a matter of fact in politics that people like to break glass ceilings by people — by voting for people who look like them. A lot of women want to vote for someone who looks like them, for Hillary Clinton. A lot of blacks want to vote for Barack Obama. People want to vote for a candidate, especially if they've never had one that looks like them. That is a fact in politics.

WILLIAMS: Alan, let me just tell you, what you're saying absolutely has merit to it, in all candor. I think what former President Bill Clinton is saying is ridiculous. But I think it is true that many Americans in this country realize for the first time that there is this possibility that in their lifetimes there could be someone in the White House other than a white man. And that is something that's not just lost on black people in this country. I think there are a lot of Americans who like the fact that there's this man, given the history of this country, who has a possibility to make American another example for the rest of the world.

And it is a fact that in that regard, race does play, but it's not just with black voters, but many other voters.

COLMES: But it's not because they're racists or because they're misogynists or because they hate white people or like white people. Michael Fauntroy, it's because that's the way it works. People like an opportunity to vote for someone new, someone fresh, and to break through those glass ceilings that have never been approached before in the way they're being approached in this election.

FAUNTROY: Listen, Alan, like I said earlier, I see it as simply human nature. It's not at all unusual when you have an opportunity to vote for somebody who sort of represents you in a physical sort of way. I don't think it's inherently racist to suggest that because black voters are supporting Barack Obama that they are in fact racists.

And by the way, South Carolina is not going to be dispositive of anything. It's one contest in what's shaping up to be a very long contest. And it's quite likely when it's all said and done, South Carolina is not going to mean a whole lot.


REAGAN: Can I say something here? Can I say something, Alan?

COLMES: Go ahead.

REAGAN: I might remind people that Iowa is a pretty white state, and the last time I checked, Barack Obama won Iowa.

COLMES: Right.

REAGAN: So he does cross party lines. So don't sit there and say well, we vote for people that look like us.

COLMES: Well, they do.

REAGAN: I looked in the mirror this morning. I don't look a thing like Barack Obama. But if I were a Democrat, I would vote for him, because I would trust him.

FAUNTROY: Listen, Barack Obama does not benefit from a campaign in which only black voters will support him. He can't win that way. So he has to broaden his base. Everybody understands that.

COLMES: But also a lot of white people would like a woman or African-American in office for a change.


COLMES: A new radio spot attacking Barack Obama was pulled from the airwaves just 24 hours after its release by the Clinton campaign. The ad targets Obama's recent comments about the Republican party. Let's take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to Barack Obama last week talking about Republicans.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there, over the last ten, 15 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really? Aren't those the ideas that got us into the economic mess we're in today? Ideas like special tax breaks for Wall Street; running up a nine trillion dollar debt; refusing to raise the minimum wage or deal with the housing crisis. Are those the ideas Barack Obama is talking about?


COLMES: The ad drew sharp and immediate criticism from the Obama camp. A spokesman for the Illinois senator called the advertisement a negative and dishonest attack. We now continue with Armstrong Williams, Michael Reagan and Michael Fauntroy. Michael Fauntroy, a lot of people have this distaste for Hillary Clinton, want to act as if she's the only party on the attack here. There's been shooting from both sides. Yet, we had Barack Obama saying Hillary would say anything to get elected. They've gone back and forth a number of times, but it seems like those who have a political agenda and hate the Clintons want to make it all the Clintons fault.

FAUNTROY: Well, you know, the key word there is hate. This is an opportunity for those who didn't get in enough shots at President Clinton to come and to get a second bite at the apple.

REAGAN: Awwwwww, awwwwww.

COLMES: Hang on. Let the man answer the question.

FAUNTROY: The reality is, even though the ad that was played in my opinion was unfair, the reality is Hillary Clinton is being pummeled by some of the same people who pummeled them back in the 1990's. And it has nothing to do as necessarily with what she stands for. It's that they have this visceral distaste for the Clintons. Add to that the fact that they don't necessarily have someone who can run in the Republican party that's not part of this same homogenous group in which the only real difference is some of them like (INAUDIBLE) and some of them don't —

REAGAN: Oh, please.


COLMES: And Michael Reagan — let me get another response here. Michael Reagan, you can snicker and laugh and smirk all you want,

REAGAN: I will laught and snicker...

COLMES: ...but you can't handle the Clintons being prominent and perhaps being president — Hillary being president of the United States.

REAGAN: Alan, you asked me a question. I'm not running the Democrat campaign. It was Hillary who pulled the ad that was an unfair and a wrong ad to pull.

COLMES: Why didn't you congratulate her for pulling it, then?

REAGAN: Excuse me. It is John Kerry who sat there and reminded everybody about the middle name of Barack Obama, not the Republicans —

COLMES: No, it was the right wing bloggers who kept doing that.

REAGAN: Excuse me. It is not my — excuse me.


REAGAN: You're the ones — you're the ones bringing this all up, putting it out there, and you're trying to blame my side.

COLMES: No you're not, Michael. Take some personal responsibility. Right wing bloggers talking about madrassas, talking about his middle name being Hussein, Ann Coulter calling him B Hussein Obama. Why don't you take some personal responsibility for your side using the smear tactics against a black candidate.

REAGAN: Alan, just put a cork in it for a moment.

COLMES: Well, thank you for the advice.

REAGAN: I take on my side when they do that and I take on your side when they try to do what you are doing, in fact, right now. Bill and Hillary are running a tag team. They can join the WWF after this election campaign the way they're tag teaming up on Barack Obama. I think he's doing an incredible job, and he should be uplifted in your party. But no, no, no, you can't do that because if you say I hate him, you're probably sleeping with him.

HANNITY: I want to set the record straight here, because it was the Hillary supporters that have been bringing up now on multiple occasions the drug issue, the potential did he sell drugs, the governor's husband in New Hampshire brought up, Barack Hussein Obama, the madrassa issue. These have all been brought up by Hillary supporters. And then they apologize later, but they effectively get out the negative information about Barack Obama that they want.

Now, if you look at the The Washington Post today, Democratic big wigs are blasting the Clintons for their deceit and cheap shots. Michael Fauntroy, Pat Leahy, Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy, Rahm Emanuel, James Clyburn, Eleanor Holmes Norton; you talk about the people that have gone after the Clintons before? They are saying that they're deceitful and that they're dishonest and that their tactics are despicable in this campaign, and their smear campaign against Barack. Those are the Democrats. I want Hillary to win, the nomination.

FAUNTROY: Listen, I didn't hear any of them say it was — I didn't hear any of them say it was despicable. What we're in right now is a very unusual circumstance, in which a former president is the spouse of someone seeking the presidency right now. And there has to be a different consideration for this whole notion that an ex-president should be a statesman. If my wife were running for president, you'd better believe I would kneecap whoever I wanted to kneecap.

HANNITY: You're missing the point. Let me go to Armstrong. What they're all saying here is that the tactics that the Clintons have employed against Barack Obama are despicable, and they're asking them to stop using these tactics. I have a question, Armstrong; do you think it's on purpose, or is Bill Clinton just a compulsive, bitter, angry, out of control ex-president?


WILLIAMS: You know, they saw Senator Barack Obama as some young rookie upstart who had no chance of wining. They took him lightly, and then he won Iowa. And all of a sudden, the Clintons are doing what they do best. They're trying to win by any means necessary. People know they're vicious. They know they'll do anything.

Yes, they'll say let's play nice, let's not be combative; as Democrats, our goal is to make sure we win the White House. And yet, they set Senator Barack to be (INAUDIBLE) and then they go out and play hard ball with him. Listen, they are disingenuous.

But look, Senator Barack Obama has to determine what he's made of. He can no longer allow himself to be pummeled in these debates


WILLIAMS: ...like he was on Tuesday. And look, this is war, and if he's not ready to fight the war, he needs to get out of the game.

HANNITY: I will tell you this, he has been fighting back. But I've got to tell you something, the Clintons want to draw everybody into the mud. They wanted this fight because they wanted it to take away this image that Barack has that he's above politics, and I think in many ways they've been successful. But that raises a question for another day, is how do you strategize against a smear campaign of the Clintons. Guys, thanks for being with us.

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