Role of Race in 2012 Race

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," October 12, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: So Professor Cornell West was on "The O'Reilly Factor" last night. It's a show that airs on Fox News Channel. Not a bad program actually. I think that guy Bill has a future. On it, West said Mr. Herman Cain trivializes race. Hear this noise.


PROFESSOR CORNELL WEST, PRINCETON: Herman Cain, when he says racism is not leaving anybody back, as if indigenous people, as if the racist immigration laws for brown brothers and sisters, as if the stop and frisk policy in New York, 600,000 young people stopped, 83 percent black and brown, two percent arrested. That's just small examples that are chronic and still at work. So for you to say somehow that it's personalizing, allows both him, but also you, brother Bill, to trivialize the suffering that's out there.


GUTFELD: Yes, I totally get West. When you make race the basis of most of your public appearances, like West often does, then anyone who isn't doing the same thing is trivializing it. That's why whenever Cain talks, steam billows from the ears of left wing academics, the reactions not unlike the sound a robot makes when malfunctioning in a science fiction movie.

Maybe to the people who see everything through the prism of race -- Al Sharpton or Mr. West-- Mr. Cain poses a big threat. I don't know if Cain is saying racism isn't a big deal. I just think he is saying there are bigger deals to contend with, like jobs, the economy, and a country that's lost its way.

Me, I think it's about results. Here's an ideological spectrum with Cornell West on one side representing progressive profs who tenure eliminates consequence from academic noodling. And on the other you have Herman Cain, a hard scrabble businessman whose life is packed with real world results. Who does America identify with more, be they black or white? That answer is what bugs West most.

JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: You know what, right on. Right on, brother. And I'm going to tell you why I say right on, because West, Tavis Smiley, those guys are threatened by the success of Herman Cain. And I think that they feel that anybody who doesn't buy into all the racism charges -- in their world President Obama -- these are the same people who criticized Obama for not being sufficient. So imagine how they feel.

And when Herman Cain says he can win a third of the black vote that blows them out. Cause guess what? It is possible that a man from the South with real economic experience, a man whose a Gospel singer, a churchgoer, would appeal to black social conservatives. And there are a lot of black social conservatives, let me tell you.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Look at the poll numbers.

WILLIAMS: That's all you got to do.

GUILFOYLE: Resonating. It doesn't matter. You should vote for him because of his experience, because of his passion for this country when he's been able to achieve for himself. And the fact that he essentially eliminates race from the equation, it diminishes the power that threatens people.


WILLIAMS: I don't know you can eliminate -- see, part of their complaint, I think, is that the Tea Party supports Herman Cain, and they don't like the idea that --

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: They can't figure it out. It doesn't --


WILLIAMS: Right, because they say the Tea Party is racist, so how can the Tea Party -- right. They think that Herman Cain is being used as a token, but I think they're underestimating and insulting Herman Cain.


WILLIAMS: And as Kimberly was saying, this is a guy with a lot of achievements.

BOLLING: You know, Cornell West and Travis (sic) Smiley, they -- look, they've done -- they've done a lot for the movement and I get what they're saying --

WILLIAMS: Right, please you're just trying to be nice.

BOLLING: No, no. But -- Al "not the sharpest tool in the shed" Sharpton, if he doesn't have race, he got nothing. I mean, he has nothing there. That's all --

GUTFELD: He got a six-figure job on MSNBC because of -- because of creating a career about race.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: And he has the audacity to come out and criticize Cain for always bringing up race. I mean, Al Sharpton really did that?

But I think, you know -- it's unbelievable.

But when Sarah Palin came out, the left reacted in a very similar way, and I wrote a column saying how deeply threatening -- as you said, Juan, and you said, Greg, they were to the left. Because they looked at someone like Sarah Palin, a woman, and blacks and Hispanics and women have been a Democratic constituency and the left needs them because they keep telling them, you need the government, you should be on welfare. And someone like Herman Cain and someone like Sarah Palin with a husband in a union, five kids, who likes to fish, who's the governor of Alaska says, you know, what, I don't need a government handout.

BOLLING: Todd's in a union?


GUTFELD: That's it.


GUTFELD: Can I bring up something Herman Cain said? This was on Neal Boortz's show. He was talking about how Obama has never been part of a black experience.

Do we have that?


NEAL BOORTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: How would you fair on a stage, you and Barack Obama in a debate?

HERMAN CAIN, R- PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Neal, it would almost be no contest. I can talk about every issue two levels deeper, whether you're talking about the economy, job creation, I can even talk about foreign policy deeper than he can, immigration. Every issue, Neal.

BOORTZ: Oh, don't forget the black experience in America, which he's never been a part of.

CAIN: He's never been a part of the black experiences in America. I can talk about that.


WILLIAMS: Well, you know what, he better hope he doesn't have to talk about foreign policy, because Obama would smear him.

TANTAROS: Juan, do you think he can get some of the black vote? If so, how much?

WILLIAMS: Oh, no. He said third. I think that's right. If you look at the numbers --

BOLLING: Can I just back you up for a second? Obama would smear the ground with Cain if they talked foreign policy? What would he do, he'd go out there and say, look, I'm going to apologize to the whole Muslim world?


GUTFELD: Obama's strongest card is foreign policy. He's killed more terrorists than anybody.

WILLIAMS: Oh, come on.

GUTFELD: He got us Usama bin Laden. Come on. You got to give him that, Eric.


BOLLING: Thank you for pulling the trigger, but the gun was built by George Bush.

WILLIAMS: Oh, here we go. You can't help yourself!


WILLIAMS: It hurts. You know what, we got to get him back to sun- tanning.

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