Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Harry Alford Defends Shoot-out with Senator Boxer

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 20, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: The head of the Black Chamber of Commerce, Harry Alford, was testifying before a Senate hearing about the economics of President Obama's clean energy policy, cap-and-trade, things like that. Mr. Alford is opposed to the climate bill, saying it would reduce earnings for the American worker. When Senator Barbara Boxer, who supports the bill, presented endorsements by other African-American groups, Mr. Alford took serious offense.


SEN. BARBARA BOXER, D-CALIF.: We will quote John Grant, who is the CEO of 100 Black Men of Atlanta: "Clean energy is the key that will unlock millions of jobs, and the NAACP's support is vital to ensuring that those jobs help to rebuild urban areas." So clearly, there is a diversity of...


HARRY ALFORD, PRESIDENT, BLACK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Madam Chair, that is condescending to me.

BOXER: Well...


ALFORD: I'm the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and you are trying to put up some other black group to pit against me.

BOXER: If this gentleman were here, he would be proud that he was being quoted.

ALFORD: He should have been invited.

BOXER: Just as he would be proud...

ALFORD: It is condescending to me...

BOXER: Just so you know, he would be proud that you were here. He's proud, I'm sure…

ALFORD: Proud.

BOXER: …that I am quoting him.

ALFORD: All of that's condescending and I don't like it. It's racial. I don't like it.

BOXER: Excuse me.

ALFORD: I take offense to it.


ALFORD: As an African-American and a veteran of this country, I take offense to that.

BOXER: Offense at the fact that I would quote...

ALFORD: You're quoting some other black man. Why don't you quote some other Asian or some...


ALFORD: I mean, you are being racial here.


O'REILLY: All right. Now Senator Boxer would not appear, but joining us from Washington is Harry Alford. Before we get to the racial aspect of this, why do you object to the climate industry that President Obama is — wants to build and Senator Boxer supports? Why do you object to it?

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HARRY ALFORD, PRESIDENT, BLACK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Well, certainly I want a good clean climate for the globe, but we want and the Natural Black Chamber of Commerce has been espousing, an energy policy that will make the United States self-sufficient, self-sufficient for its energy needs and also to deliver energy to American families and businesses at an affordable rate, at the same time, help clean up the environment and keep our position economically in the world.

O'REILLY: All right, but they say cap-and-trade and all the green windmill stuff and all the stuff that they want to do will create more jobs, will help all Americans, including African-Americans, and you seem to object to their point of view.

ALFORD: Well, we got the Charles Rivers Associates group to do a study for us. They're a very reputable group. It showed in the end if this cap-and-trade hustle were to be delivered to the American people, in the end, we would have 2.3 million less jobs than we do now. It does not make sense to have less jobs, higher cost of energy still the world is in the same predicament carbon-emission wise.

O'REILLY: All right, so your position kind of mirrors my position. It's interesting. Now, you are not an ideological group, the Chamber of Commerce, right? I mean, you're just a business group.

ALFORD: Nonpartisan, not for profit. We espouse capitalism and entrepreneurship.

O'REILLY: OK. So now you're presenting your objection, which I think is absolutely valid objection, to the cap-and-trade. You call it a hustle; I call it cap-and-con. So we're pretty much on the same page. And Boxer, in order to debate you, puts up the NAACP, a liberal group, who thinks that cap and trade and the other green industries is just terrific. Now, you say that's a racial deal. Explain that further.

ALFORD: Well, first of all, the NAACP had a resolution saying they're for a better environment. I'm for a better environment; I'm sure Bill O'Reilly's for a better environment.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

ALFORD: It did not address cap-and-trade. It did not address the Waxman-Markey bill. And her, with her usual embellishments, that's trying to make this seem like it was something supporting the Waxman-Markey bill, it was not. But, that's her MO...

O'REILLY: So, that's a general statement by the NAACP. But, you seem to object to the fact that she was pointing out a black group was counter-mannering your Black group. You didn't like that.

ALFORD: It was pure race. It was like down there in Mississippi, back in the bad old days, when one Black preacher would rise up against the big boss, he'd go find another black preach to fight against that black preacher. Yeah, it is — it was ugly. And she jumped — she opened up a pit, a mud pit that I wasn't going to jump into.

O'REILLY: Well, you shocked her. You stunned her with that analysis, and she had no answer to it. She kept saying: he would be proud. I mean, it was almost comical. You stunned her, because I don't think, Mr. Alford, and maybe you see it differently, I don't think Ms. Boxer had any intent to bring racism into the debate, she just wanted to win the argument and said well, look, I'll use the NAACP, I'll take it out of context to throw the guy off his game. I think that's what she was doing.

ALFORD: Actually, Bill, I think it's her persona. I don't think she can help herself. When she gets caught up in a rut like that or against the wall, race comes out. She's — the brainchild of Anita Hill attacking Clarence Thomas was Barbara Boxer. You go back to the election 2004 and all of that garbage against Ken Blackwell, secretary of state of Ohio, saying he rigged the election, that was Barbara Boxer.

O'REILLY: OK, but she would say, Mr. Alford, I love black people. I love black people. I want the best for — I'm a liberal, I want the best for black people. Now, the two people that you mentioned, Judge Thomas and Mr. Blackwell, are conservatives. Now, she will attack conservatives using any and all methods, as any liberals will do. But, if you've got Barbara Boxer, she would go: I love black people. I'll vote for everything that will help them, affirmative action on down the line. So, I think — I don't think she feels that it's a racial argument, it's an ideological argument. If you oppose her views, then we'll come get you, but it doesn't have anything to do with race.

ALFORD: She loves poor black folks and she loves black folks in their place. She does not love — you take Condoleezza Rice, who I would love my grandchildren to emulate and the way she treated Condoleezza Rice during her confirmation hearings was just terrible.

O'REILLY: Again, a conservative woman, you know. I get what you are saying.

ALFORD: Professional.

O'REILLY: I get what you are saying. I think Boxer has it out for anybody who's in the right. Now, after you took her down, and you did, Mr. Alford, what kind of reaction did you get?

ALFORD: Well, I have got a great fan club now. A lot of people don't like her. I've gotten about 7,500 emails and 98 percent are cheering me on. I think...

O'REILLY: After tonight, you'll have 25,000 emails, because — look, I respect you. You stood up for what you believe, you told her what you thought, she had no reply and then you came on this program to further explain and she would not, so I think that everybody knows what's going on here, Mr. Alford, and we appreciate you coming on very much, tonight.

ALFORD: Thank you, Bill.

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