Jesse Jackson Caught on Tape Trashing Obama

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 9, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: The top story tonight: reaction to the [Jesse Jackson] situation. And for clarity's sake, we'll play you the tape once again.


REV. JESSE JACKSON: See, Barack's been, um, talking down to black people on this faith-based… I want to cut his (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off. Barack, he's talking down to black people.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from Raleigh, North Carolina, radio talk show host Warren Ballentine, and from Washington, Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page.

Clarence, we'll begin with you. What's your reaction to it?

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE COLUMNIST: Well, I, as well as I can hear with my aged hearing...

O'REILLY: We sent you the transcript though. You know what he said.

PAGE: Well, yeah, and Jackson doesn't deny that his words were hurtful. And only that part you bleeped there, he really regrets saying that. I talked with him this afternoon, and he says that within the context, he is not opposed to faith-based programs. He likes faith-based programs, but his ideology says, you know, you do not just rely on just faith-based programs to solve these problems...

O'REILLY: But what's the talking down reference? That's what I am not getting.


PAGE: ...that's the way he looks at it.

O'REILLY: OK, look, you can disagree with faith-based, you can — I don't care, it doesn't matter. But the talking down business?

Now, I think it has to do with the calling out of black fathers who abandon their children. Maybe I'm wrong. Because the faith-based statement that Barack Obama made had no condescension to it at all. You couldn't possibly take that away from that. So maybe it's a combination. But I'm not getting the talking down business, Clarence.

PAGE: Well, I think that he sees — well, as he put it to me, he feels there are people out there who feel that all black people need to do is just work hard and have faith, and all these problems will be solved, and that's too simplistic. And he also doesn't want to see Barack Obama play into that kind of thinking. But, as he says, his support for Obama is unequivocal.

O'REILLY: All right. What do you think, Warren?

PAGE: I think that this is an ideological dispute.

WARREN BALLENTINE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Bill, to be honest with you, I don't think it's that big of a deal, and I'm going to tell you why. I mean, I think this would have been more damaging coming from Reverend Sharpton than Reverend Jackson, to be honest with you. I think we're at a point in black America where — when you look at civil rights leadership, I think the torch has been passed to Reverend Sharpton.

Also, I honestly, as far as talking down, I spoke with Reverend Jackson as well. And what he was saying was that, look, we need to be talking about jobs and education, not just faith-based organizations and faith-based church incentives — initiatives, excuse me. So I don't know that Reverend Jackson meant any harm by it.

In fact, I would even go out and say the last time I came on your show, we were talking about Imus and how he misspoke. I think Reverend Jackson just misspoke on a hot mic, and honestly, he's supported Senator Obama since he ran for the state senate in Illinois. And I can say that being from Chicago, because I saw it with my own two eyes.

O'REILLY: OK, but, again, I don't know if it's a misstatement, because there seems to be something about Barack Obama that Jesse Jackson doesn't like.

Now, you said, Warren, that he wants Obama to engage the other issues. Certainly Obama has. Obama has talked about all of those things: jobs, discrimination. He gave a long speech in Philadelphia on race. So he has.

It seems to me that there may be a rivalry here, a rivalry.

BALLENTINE: But Bill, I will say this, Bill. This is what I will say as a 35-year-old African-American person. It seems to me that the generation of Reverend Jackson is a generation that has longed for one day to be able to say we have a prominent African-American person who could be president. And I think that generation never thought that day would come. And I think — and not to be disrespectful to that generation, but I think that generation is in shock and awe. I think they are shocked by the fact that Barack Obama has come out...

O'REILLY: So Jackson is so stunned, he doesn't know what he is saying. See, I mean, that's putting a happy face on it there, Warren. But I think there might be a more malevolent motivation here, Clarence. I mean, I think there might be a tinge of jealousy. It would be human nature. Jackson is a trailblazer.

PAGE: I think a rivalry — I think there's an ideological rivalry. I think he supports Barack Obama, but he doesn't want to see Barack go too close to the middle.

You remember back in the '80s when Jesse ran for president, and he became not just the leading black spokesman in the country for a while there, but a leading spokesman for the left. As you put it, the far left. And he made no bones about it.

O'REILLY: All right, so he doesn't — so you think it's not so much about race, it's about ideology.

PAGE: Exactly.

O'REILLY: Interesting.

PAGE: You know, just like he and Bill Clinton have had a rivalry going on along those lines.

O'REILLY: You know, Jackson burned up the — he must have made 578 phone calls, except to me. I was the only one who didn't get one.


PAGE: That's right.

BALLENTINE: I spoke to him. I don't know about the rest of you.

O'REILLY: And I want to tell the audience and I want to tell you...


O'REILLY: I want to tell everybody that we held back some of this conversation, and we did that because we didn't feel that it had any relevance to the conversation this evening. So...


O'REILLY: Wait, wait, Warren. I just want to make this very clear: We're not out to get Jesse Jackson. We're not out to embarrass him. We're not out to make him look bad. If we were, we would have used what we have, which is more damaging than what you heard.

What we are trying to get out here is that there are some people who believe that the victimization deal, OK, goes to hell if Barack Obama is elected president. The accusation that we live in a racial society, it's not fair to black, all blows up if you get Obama into the White House.

I have got 30 seconds for each of you. We'll start with you, Warren, and then we'll give you the last word, Clarence.

BALLENTINE: I don't know if that all goes to hell, Bill, but I will say this. Whether Barack Obama is the president or not, that doesn't heal or solve everything in the black community. And when you're talking about injustices, that's what we're dealing with, injustices. Not just racism or sexism. We're talking about injustices.

O'REILLY: Fifteen seconds.

PAGE: Well, I have written that I think Reverend Wright feels a lot of that, that Barack's election would really just knock down the notion that this is such an irredeemably racist country. But you know, if Barack is elected, it doesn't mean we have seen the last of Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson.

O'REILLY: No, that's for sure. Gentlemen, thanks very much. Very interesting.

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