This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from May 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE ANDREW, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: I'm changing my support from Senator Clinton to senator Obama. And doing so with a heavy heart about how this process has hurt the Democratic Party, but enlightened and energized for what I have seen from Senator Obama particularly over the past few days and weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIT HUME, HOST: He of course meant Senator Barack Obama, and he did mention that he thought that Obama's performance in handling the Reverend Wright matter was a big plus and that was one of the reasons he was switching.
Joe Andrew, of course, was the Chairman of the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton.
And let he's look at the polling now on Indiana and North Carolina, the states that vote next week. In Indiana, as you can see, Hillary Clinton in the latest Rasmussen poll up five points. That is well inside the margin of error.
Similarly in North Carolina, Obama, who once led by double digits there, is now leading by seven, and that is also within the plus five margin of error. So those two races are looking a little bet for Hillary Clinton than they did a short time ago.
Some thoughts on this race from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of "The Weekly Standard," Mort Kondracke, same job at "Roll Call," and the syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, all are FOX News contributors.
So is anything changing here, Fred? How big of a deal is Joe Andrew? What do we have?
FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: He is not a big deal at all.
But Hillary Clinton is doing a little better. There is every to believe that Obama will be the nominee still, but he has lost some ground. You see his unfavorable rating is higher. She is gaining in Indiana, as you pointed out — in North Carolina, a state that he was further ahead in.
BARNES: Then you see these other polls, these match ups with John McCain and in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, Hillary Clinton does much better. And these will be a part — well, they already are a part of the Clinton campaign argument that she can win against McCain, and he can't win.
I want to ask one thing about Joe Andrew. He said, as you mentioned, it was how Obama handled the Reverend Wright affair, plus that great stand against the summer gas tax holiday.
That is a pretty trivial issue. But those were big reasons why he went with Obama? I don't believe that. Those are silly reasons. He went with Obama because he thinks Obama's going to win and he thinks if Obama doesn't win and Hillary wins that the Party will split.
HUME: Mort, doesn't Hillary need a big, major, huge break in the super delegates for her, and isn't Andrew at least a conspicuous example of the fact that's not happening?
MORT KONDRACKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ROLL CALL: Right. The whole drift of super delegates has been in his direction. I think since Pennsylvania, she's gotten ten and he's gotten 15 of the super delegates.
HUME: She's still leading by about 17.
KONDRACKE: She is still leading, but the gap is narrowing. What we don't know from all these polls — and the polls have been almost universally bad for Obama — state polls, match ups with McCain, favorables, unfavorables, all that stuff, scores with independents, has been bad for Obama.
What you don't know is how much his speech denouncing the Reverend Wright might have helped him out. It probably wasn't strong enough, denunciatory enough, or at least loud enough to help him out a lot, but all these polls were taken before he made that speech, and we'll have to see how it comes out.
And I think Indiana and North Carolina will tell us a lot. If she wins both of them, then he's in big trouble, I think. If they split, then
HUME: He is in big trouble? He might lose the nomination?
KONDRACKE: I think the super delegates are going to get scared. She is making an argument that he —
HUME: But if the Joe Andrew of the world aren't scared yet —
KONDRACKE: They're not scared yet, but we haven't seen Indiana and North Carolina yet. If he loses both of them, when he was expected to win North Carolina by 15 points, something's changing.
I'm not saying that he is going to lose the nomination, but the super delegates will start thinking again.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: What Andrew did tells you — the guy that switched and abandoned Hillary that we saw in that clip — tells you Democrats are calculating that there is no way the Party will take the nomination away from Obama because it would split it in a way that would create a rupture that would last a generation.
And they probably calculate that they're going to win this election anyway in such a heavily Democratic year.
But I loved Andrew's performance. It was not just telling, it was entertaining the way he had a heavy heart in this abandonment. And in the letter he wrote, he starts it by saying "I have been inspired." I have been here 30 years and seen cynical stuff in politics, but that, I think, ranks at the top.
He was inspired by the math. He looked at the math and saw that there's no way she will catch him on delegates, and if he is going to be the nominee, he wants a sinecure in the next administration of the kind he had in the Clinton administration, and will abandon her —
KONDRACKE: You're a real cynic.
KONDRACKE: In this case he sounded more scared than anything else, and also offended by the way the Clinton campaign has been conducting itself. accusing people of being Judas Iscariot.
KRAUTHAMMER: He was not offended, he was inspired, Mort.
HUME: Next up with the panel, do African-American children really learn differently from white children? The Reverend Jeremiah Wright thinks so. We'll talk about that when we come back. Wait until you hear this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: American children have a different way of learning. They are right brained, subject oriented in their learning styles. Right brain — that means creative and intuitive.
When they were desegregated in Philadelphia, several of the white teachers in my school freaked out. Why? Because black kids wouldn't stay in their place — over there, behind the desk. Black kids climbed up all on them because they learned from a subject, not from an object.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: That was part of a considerable disquisition of the somewhat overlooked speech that Reverend Wright gave to the NCAAP convention in Detroit last Sunday night, upstaged, as it was, the next day by the goings on at National Press Club the next day.
He spoke at some length about the different educational experiences that he says that African-American children have from white children. Indeed, he said, as you heard, that they use different parts of their brain for learning, left versus right.
What about this, Charles?
KRAUTHAMMER: This is complete rubbish of the worst kind. And I'm speaking here choosing my words carefully. This is the worst kind of crackpot pseudoscience. It's not just idiotic, it's also demeaning and dangerous.
This is the stuff of eugenics, of NAZI racial theories, and of white segregationists who created separate school systems under the same assumption that blacks are of a different species who think in a different way and who learn in a different way.
And when Wright says that blacks are right-brained and whites are left-brained, meaning verbal and creative — I'm sorry, left-brained meaning logical and mathematical — what he is saying is that African-Americans are OK in doing hip-hop but not math.
This is just astonishing stuff. But what's worse is the reaction of the audience. He said it at a meeting of the NCAAP, which historically, half a century ago, had brought the case in the Supreme Court which overthrew separate schools, which had been based on the assumption of a separate intelligence, of a different intelligence.
And for the people in that audience to applaud this kind of destructive nonsense was tragic. It was a measure how those who call themselves the "civil rights movement" have degenerated over half a century.
KONDRACKE: I mean, the idea that black kids cannot sit still in school and learn their lessons because of some biological quirk — he's practicing —
HUME: Tell that to Barack Obama.
KONDRACKE: Yes, exactly — and Michelle, and loads of other blacks who go to school and go to universities and excel, and all the rest.
We have proved decisively that if you give black kids a good preschool education by their parents and you give them a decent school to go to and somebody reads to them, they can perform just as well with European-style right brain or left brain or whatever it is education as anybody else.
But he's giving excuses for failure. And I don't know what good he thinks he's doing to the black community, because he is not.
BARNES: There was a good bit of this in the United States. Charles touched on this, this kind of thinking that blacks' brains are different and they are physiologically different, and that explains things.
And you heard this back in the 1950's and 1960's, and 1850's and 1860's, by the worst of the white racists, used as arguments. And now he is using this argument that brains operate differently, so blacks have ants in their pants when they're in school.
This is really ludicrous, raising one other issue again, Brit. Here is this guy — the more you hear of him, the more crackpot he gets, and you wonder about what Barack Obama has said is the most important quality he has. It's not experience. It's judgment. He had the judgment to be against the war in Iraq, even before it started.
Now, what kind of judgment did he show staying for 20 years at the church with this guy with these crackpot ideas? And then there are all the other racist ideas and anti-American ideas. But what in the world kept him there?
HUME: Is it possible that he held these ideas and Obama somehow didn't know about them?
BARNES: How could that be possible? We've seen the sermons, and so on. Look, if there were wild sermons like that at the church I go to, even if I missed them, I bet everybody would be talking about them.
If you look at the black value system that the church talked about, a lot of it is good — pursuit of excellence, get an education, and all that. But it's also opposed to the idea of middle-classedness. Middle-classedness is what is going to save the black community.
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