This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," Jan. 27, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
ANDREW YOUNG, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Condoleezza Rice not only deserves the support, but the country needs a strong, wise secretary of state with a bipartisan mandate to help establish democracy, not only in Iraq but around the world.
C. DELORES TUCKER, NAT’L CONGRESS OF BLACK WOMEN: How could she say that she supports the democracy when a democracy does not support a woman that they know is more qualified than any other we have had in this position, especially for such a time as this in America?
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BRIT HUME, HOST: When those two veteran civil rights leaders spoke out yesterday, they were putting themselves on the side of President Bush and Condoleezza Rice and against prominent Senate Democrats. That, to say the least, is unusual. What’s going on here and why is this.
For answers, we turn to FOX News contributor, veteran Washington journalist and chronicler of the Civil Rights Movement, Juan Williams.
Juan, welcome. Nice to see you my friend.
JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Good to be here my friend.
HUME: Thanks for being here.
HUME: Talk to me a little bit about what — how you interpret that event yesterday. I was struck by the event. Were you as well?
WILLIAMS: Oh, let me just tell you something. The phone has been ringing off the hook with people saying, wait a second. Why are they beating up on Condoleezza Rice in terms of the president’s policy in Iraq? What’s going on? Why don’t they take on the big boy and go after the president. That is who they want to go after. But why go after someone who is imminently qualified?
There is no debate about Condoleezza Rice’s qualifications. There is no debate about the fact that she is truly representative of the president’s perspective point of view and the president wants her in the job. And there is no question; it seems to me, that Condoleezza Rice has been forth coming in explaining her position to this — to the senators who have been grilling her.
So people have a sense, and I think African-Americans in particular, have a sense of grievance that, wait a second, why are you picking on this woman who — I mean, Brit, you know her, I know her.
Astounding personal history not only in terms of civil rights activity. She’s from Birmingham. One of her friends was killed in the 16- Street bombing back in those days, but I mean this was a provost at Stanford, extraordinary person.
And the idea that she has the bear the entire policy at this moment, and have the nomination delays so that she could not go overseas and participate in some of the key foreign policy activities taking place this week, I think a lot of people think you know what? They are just picking on Condoleezza Rice unfairly.
HUME: She would be the first African-American woman obviously to be secretary of state.
HUME: Also today Alberta Gonzales’s nomination was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He would be the first Hispanic to serve in that job. All Democrats voted no. Democrats have been pretty well able to count on the votes of minorities in this country and of African-Americans in particular. The president did a little better, up from nine percent in 2000 to what?
WILLIAMS: Eleven percent. Right.
HUME: Eleven percent in 2004. Is it possible the Democratic senators and others feel that, look, African-Americans are going to be Democrats,would you say. We have really always been with them. We are in no danger of losing their votes. Is that, at this point in your judgment, a warranted assumption?
WILLIAMS: Well, it’s not warranted. You mentioned the president went up from nine percent to 11 percent, but if you look inside the numbers, if you look in California, he was up in terms of African-American vote. You look in Ohio, it was up to 16 percent of the black vote. Again, an increase you look in Pennsylvania. And increase if you look in Florida.
Battleground states where the president’s campaign targeted African- American voters, realizing it was going to be a very tight race, the president’s campaign did markedly better than they did in 2000. And the issues they did better on tended to be issues of social concern, issues ranging from gay marriage to abortion rights. These are issues were you find a substantial, church-going, conservative black community and those are people who get out and vote. And they did turn out to vote.
When you talk about the Democrats in the Senate assuming that they have the black vote in their pocket and blacks are not going to take umbrage at their treatment, either of Rice or Gonzales as another American minority, I think that’s a little bit of old school politics.
And what we have seen in the last few days, with the president having meetings with the black religious leaders and business leaders, and today with the Congressional Black Caucus, is I think the president lending his credibility to a generational shift developing new leadership. The people were not the NAACP. They were not the Urban League. They are not the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Dr. King.
These are people who develop churches, who hire people through churches. These are people who buy land in their community to build housing. This is part of the president’s emphasis on race relations, as an extension of his drive for an ownership society.
HUME: And is it your view that this has political effect beyond him? I mean, obviously he’s never going to run again. He will be around for a few years, but he is not going to be running again. Is there any sense, in your view, that there’s a growing trend toward being Republicans in the African-American community?
WILLIAMS: Oh yes. We talked about this before. But if you look at the numbers again, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies did a report, a survey just before the election. In which they found self- identified among young black people, there is tremendous growth in terms of people who identify themselves as either as Independents or conservatives. Not necessarily Republicans, but Independents or conservatives.
What you see there is this again generational shift. Those folks are much more open to hearing the president’s message. And when it comes to an issue, like Social Security, something the president is really honing in on, wait a second, black people die and live shorter lives, shorter life expectancy...
HUME: Black men in particular, right?
WILLIAMS: Black — especially black men. And therefore, don’t get the full benefit. They could benefit from changes in Social Security and those reforms. That message penetrates with younger black people. And as much I might add, it penetrates with younger white. But what you see is that younger black people are not all sort of automatically opposed to hearing a message from a Republican, conservative president.
It is the older generation that has the difficulty. And I think you see that older generation represented in the likes of Julian Bond, who is now the chairman of the NAACP and locked into that older thinking, that was wedded, I think, the black vote to the Democrat in the civil rights era and with passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
This newer generation saying, wait a second, what did we get from the Democrat Party in recent years? Where are we going? And who has fresh ideas that relieve some of the tensions and problems in the community today? And that is where President Bush has come forward and saying let’s shake up. Let’s get a new dynamic in place.
HUME: Juan Williams, pleasure to have you. Always good to see you. Thanks, Juan.
WILLIAMS: Good to be with you, Brit.
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