Mary Matalin on the King Funeral

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 8, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Our top story tonight is the continued political fallout from yesterday's memorial service for Coretta Scott King. Now, despite the fact that President Bush was seated on the stage behind them, the Reverend Joseph Lowery and former President Jimmy Carter had no problem turning their eulogies into Democratic stump speeches.


REVEREND JOSEPH LOWERY, FORMER HEAD OF SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar. We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there, but...


... but Coretta knew, and we know, that there are weapons of misdirection right down here.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The efforts of Martin and Coretta have changed America. They were not appreciated even at the highest level of government. It was difficult for them personally with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the targets of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance.



HANNITY: Meanwhile, earlier today, Senator Hillary Clinton accused the Republican Party of playing the fear card to win elections by attacking the Democrats' record on national security. Joining us now, former assistant to President Bush, counsel to Vice President Cheney, Mary Matalin is back.

Mary, this isn't the first time the Democratic Party has acted this way. We saw it during the memorial service for Paul Wellstone. Here is the president of the United States. He goes to the service to honor Coretta Scott King, her life, her legacy, celebration of her life. What do you think when it turns into this?

MARY MATALIN, FORMER COUNSEL TO THE VICE PRESIDENT: You know, it's offensive, it's un-Christian, it's un-southern, it's insulting, it's all of that. But it wasn't about President Bush; it was an insult to the memory of both Coretta Scott King and Dr. King.

And it's very illustrative of where the Democratic Party is — the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is today. It was completely without facts. It was ignorant. It was no hope, all hate. So it's sad.

My chief response to it is that it's sad. It was sad, I would expect, for her family and her millions of admirers, and it was a sad day for America that we couldn't celebrate that great family.

HANNITY: You know, there was a "New York Times" front-page article today, and it dealt with the issue that Democrats feel they should be doing better, that this is an off-year election where they should be picking up seats, and they feel they're not having the right message going out because of the faces of the Democratic Party, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, the strident left. Is this another example of this at this funeral?

MATALIN: Well, when you're have no facts — you know, there's no facts. There's no vision. Therefore, there's no hope. It's all hate. And it's all anger.

So I'll say again, it's sad. Look, we're at a time in our nation's history where we need all the best brains involved in the process. And one whole party has taken itself out of the game here.


MATALIN: And the reason that — it's not their face. It's not their message. There's no policy. There's no facts.

I mean, the attacks on the president yesterday completely missed the progress that's been made in the African-American community, which can be credited to President Bush, African-American homeownership at an all-time high, the achievement gap between the white and black students at a high, closing, narrowing.

I mean, you know, I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists. And they're keeping constituency, their keeping their neighborhoods and their African-American brothers enslaved, if you will, by continuing to let them think that they're — or forced to think that they're victims, that the whole system is against them.

HANNITY: Well, I'll say it this way...

MATALIN: Articulate it better, Sean. It's so sad to me.

HANNITY: There's never been a president that has put more African- Americans in higher positions of power than George W. Bush. You know, look, you want to talk about real wiretapping or domestic wiretapping, not a terrorist surveillance program of Al Qaeda outside this program — this country.

It was Bobby Kennedy who authorized...


HANNITY: ... the wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his friends, and his family, at his home, at his workplace. Yet it seems that, you know, historically people seem to have forgotten that. But they seem devoid of any substance or ideas, except this fixation, led by Howard Dean, that they hate George W. Bush. We heard them. Now, what do you stand for?

MATALIN: You know, and I just — I'll say this as a strategist. It didn't work when we were obsessed with hating Bill Clinton. That's not what — and it's going to work even less today because we are in a post- 9/11 critical turn in our history.

We don't just have national security issues of a new magnitude; we have global economic issues of a different magnitude. And here they are, hateful, and no hope, and no facts. No facts!

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: I didn't hear any Bush-bashing.

MATALIN: But, you know, I was particularly...

COLMES: I didn't hear any hate. By the way, welcome back to the show, Mary. Very nice to see you.

MATALIN: Hey, Alan, I've been missing you.

COLMES: I know you do. I know you think of me every moment you're not on "Hannity & Colmes."

Well, here's what Martin Luther King said in 1963. He did a eulogy for the young victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. And he said that these people had something to say to the federal government that compromised when the undemocratic practices of Southern Democrats and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing northern Republicans.

That was the eulogy by Martin Luther King. Was he being insulting? Was he being un-Christian? Was he guilty...

MATALIN: Are you comparing the times...

COLMES: ... of things you're accusing Democrats of doing when he gave that kind of a eulogy?

MATALIN: Alan, you're doing what the liberals do.

COLMES: Thank you.

MATALIN: You are comparing a — which is completely self-defeating, so keep blathering away out there.

COLMES: I wasn't blathering. I want an answer to my question.

MATALIN: You're comparing a time of great civil rights unrest with a time where there's been great progress made for all Americans, and African- Americans in particular.

For civil rights leaders, who are race-baiters and hustlers, to continue to propagate this notion amongst the African-American community that we are a nation of racists and that they are victims...

COLMES: That's not what they said.

MATALIN: ... and they're enslaved by us...

COLMES: That's not what they said. They talked...

MATALIN: That's exactly what they're saying.

COLMES: They talked about poverty, and homelessness, and problems...

MATALIN: They were wiretapping us and they're misdirecting...

COLMES: They talked about...

MATALIN: Well, poverty, Alan — poverty is a function of three acts: having a child out of wedlock, having a child in wedlock when you're a teenager, and not graduating from high school.


COLMES: But, Mary, they didn't blame Bush for that.


COLMES: They're talking about problems that have been endemic for the last how many decades. They weren't blaming George W. Bush for it. You Bush defenders are a little too sensitive...

MATALIN: No, we're not.

COLMES: ... when Bush wasn't even mentioned in any of these eulogies.


MATALIN: I don't think it was — here's what I'm offended by. All day long, everybody is talking about the ungracious manner in which the president was subjected. He doesn't weasel his way into there, nor did Poppy Bush 41.

They went, they were gracious, in the same way President Bush 43 was gracious when Clinton came to the White House for the unveiling of his portrait.

Would you want to be remembered that way? Would you want your funeral to unfold like that? No. You invite somebody into your home, you treat them in a Christian and a hospitable manner. That was missing.

HANNITY: All right, Mary, thanks for being with us, as always. Appreciate your time. Thank you for being with us.

MATALIN: Thank you.

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