President Bush Says No to the NAACP

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 8, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY HOST: Our top story tonight: President Bush says no to the NAACP, and that organization doesn't like it.  CEO Kweisi Mfume (search) said the president's treating the black community like, "prostitutes," dealing with blacks behind closed doors.

Joining us now from Los Angeles is Earl Ofari Hutchinson (search) the author of the book, "The Crisis in Black and Black."  And here in the studio, Deroy Murdock (search), a syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service.

OK, if you're advising President Bush, do you tell him to go?

DEROY MURDOCK, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE:  No, I tell him he should go talk to other groups that actually agree with him, not groups that slander him and call him all kinds of names, say things like the Republican's party's idea of equality is to put the stars and stripes next to the confederate swastika of the.

O'REILLY:  That's Julian Bond (search), right?

MURDOCK:  Julian Bond said that just last week.

O'REILLY:  Right.

MURDOCK:  He's the chairman of the NAACP.  So, they should not be surprised when they attack President Bush, attack the GOP in the ugliest terms possible.  And Bush says, you know what?  I have something better to do with my time.

O'REILLY:  All right, Mr. HUTCHINSON, what say you?

EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON, "THE CRISIS IN BLACK AND BLACK":  I don't know who's advising Bush, but I say this:  It's dumb and it's ill advised.

Yes, you do go.  You're a president.  You have said over and over again -- as a matter of fact, you did speak to the NAACP convention in 2000 when you weren't the president and you were running.  And at the same time, the NAACP didn't support you then, but you still spoke to them.

So, four years later, you're the president.  You have said over and over again that diversity is a main, main point in the Republican approach to African-Americans and other people of color.  The Republican National Committee, Ed Gillespie has said, "We're going to spend millions and millions to try to outreach to African-Americans."

Come on.  The NAACP -- whether you like them or not, whether you agree with them or not, whether it's your point of view or not, whether you feel philosophically they're hostile to you or not -- the bottom line is it's still an organization that represents a wide segment of African-Americans.  And by the way, many NAACP members, despite what Julian Bond and Mfume had to say, many of them are Republicans.  So, I.

O'REILLY:  I don't know about many, but some are.

HUTCHINSON:  They are.

O'REILLY:  But look, I think this is a matter of disrespect.  I think President Bush and his advisors feel that Julian Bond disrespected them by saying these outrageously false things about them.  And why should the president then go in and legitimize an organization that did not repudiate Mr. Bond?

And if the organization had debated it, had said maybe he overstepped -- but if I were President Bush at this point, Mr. Ofari, and I understand -- Mr. Hutchinson, I'm sorry -- and I understand your point of view, by the way.  I think the Republican party should go out and be proactive.

HUTCHINSON:  They should.

O'REILLY:  But I don't think I'd go into a disrespectful venue as -- I just wouldn't do it.

HUTCHINSON:  OK, Bill, here's the problem with that.  In 2000, when then Governor Bush of the State of Texas -- conservative, Republican, many people knew what his philosophy was -- he still went and spoke to the NAACP.

O'REILLY:  But they weren't outright disrespectful.  Look, anybody that says.


O'REILLY:  . their idea of the Bush -- wait, wait, wait.  Anybody who says the Bush's administration's idea of equal rights is the American flag and a confederate swastika, come on, that's disrespectful.  That's one man.

HUTCHINSON:  OK, it's way over the top.


O'REILLY:  Wait, wait, wait.  Let Mr. Murdock jump in, and then we'll come back to you.

MURDOCK:  I think -- look, it's fine if the NAACP wants to say, look, we have a different view on taxes.  We're not for the war on Iraq.  They can disagree on it.

But there's absolutely no reason for them to say things like Kweisi Mfume said just last week that President Bush is someone who's interested again in bringing back the confederacy, bringing back Jim Crow segregation.

Now, you may disagree about Bush's policies.  He's not bringing back Jim Crow segregation.

O'REILLY:  No, he's not.

MURDOCK:  How can he say those kind of things and, again, expect Bush just to put his tail between his legs and.

O'REILLY:  Yes I think what it is -- I think that what it is, Mr. Hutchinson, is -- it's a matter of disorganization, the NAACP.  In my opinion, the opinion of Mr. Murdock, and I think the president as well, has become radicalized.  It does -- it's not a mainstream fair organization anymore.  It's a political arm of the Democratic party, which is OK.  But just admit it.

And if you're going to be a bomb thrower, you can't expect to have credibility.  Go ahead.

HUTCHINSON:  You know, the thing about it is, Bill, I think what you're forgetting, the president has spoke to different venues.  All of them don't agree with him.  He's spoken to world leaders.  He's spoken to Palestinian leaders.  He's spoken to Syrian leaders.  He's spoken to North Korean leaders.  He's spoken to Russian leaders.  A lot of them don't agree.  A lot of them could be hostile, too.

So, you mean to tell me because one person, Mfume, one person, Julian Bond, made statements that you disagree with, you think it disrespectful?  You're essentially going to wipe out the whole organization?

O'REILLY:  No, I think the whole organization.

HUTCHINSON:  And beyond that, Bill, an organization -- but Bill -- but wait a minute, an organization that is representative of a lot of African-Americans.

O'REILLY:  All right, go ahead.

MURDOCK:  Yes, we're not talking about just random members of the NAACP.  Mfume is the president, and Julian Bond is the chairman.  He's the top.

HUTCHINSON:  It's still only two members.

MURDOCK:  . members in that organization.

HUTCHINSON:  It's only two individuals.

O'REILLY:  Yes, but there wasn't any debate about this.

MURDOCK:  President Bush has appeared in 2001, 2002, 2003 before the Urban League.  There are groups like Project 21, groups like the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise that believe in markets, believe in the kind of views and philosophy he has.

O'REILLY:  Yes, I just think -- I don't think this is about race.  I don't think this is about race.  I -- let me.

HUTCHINSON:  OK, but he's if he's done all of that, if he's appeared before these groups, he can appear before the NAACP.

O'REILLY:  He can.

HUTCHINSON:  It's only one more group, one more venue.

O'REILLY:  . but it's an option that he might not want to take.  Look, here's the deal.  It's not about race.  It's not.  It's about politics.  It's just like the ACLU.

HUTCHINSON:  Which is why he should do it.  Which is all the more reason for him to speak.

O'REILLY:  The ACLU has now become a politicized arm of the far left.  And the Bush administration believes that the same thing has happened to the NAACP.  Now to be fair, I'm going to give you 20 seconds, and I'm going to give Mr. Murdock 20 seconds.  Go.

HUTCHINSON:  OK, but Bill -- Bill, it doesn't make any difference what he thinks as an individual.

O'REILLY:  Sure it does.  He's the president.

HUTCHINSON:  The fact is he's still the president.  He's still running for an office.  It's still an organization that represents a wide body of black opinion.  He has a duty, obligation, go before the NAACP, confront them, speak to them, win them over.

O'REILLY:  OK, Mr. Murdock?

MURDOCK:  By pretending as if we still lived in 1954 rather than 2004, I think the NAACP has marginalized itself.  And the fact that they can't get the president of the United States to come, whereas groups like the Urban League can do so, just shows the NAACP has completely fallen over the side of the American political landscape.

O'REILLY:  All right, gentlemen, very interesting discussion.  We appreciate both of you coming on in.

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