This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight: According to a new Gallup poll, President Obama's support among African-Americans is down 14 points from its high. Currently he gets support from still an impressive 81 percent, but earlier in his presidency he drew an astounding 95 percent.
So why is the president losing black voters? And can he win the White House without tremendous support from the black community? Joining us now to discuss, two men who supported the president in 2008: Rev. Jacques DeGraff, he's a Fox News contributor who is in New York, and radio talk show host Earl Ofari Hutchinson joining us from Los Angeles.
Let's start with you Rev. DeGraff. Look, you know, 95 percent, I don't know how you can ever maintain a 95 percent approval rating but very impressive. Still 81 percent, but there has been some movement. You are looking at 17 percent unemployment for African-Americans, 11 percent foreclosure rate for black homeowners. What has President Obama, to put it bluntly, done for black Americans?
REV. JACQUES DEGRAFF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, he has led with leadership and distinction since he has been there, and he has been responsive. But remember in the same poll that below the president is the standing of Congress. So the African-Americans didn't just take a step back from the president; they have taken a step back from Congress, who they see in much lower terms, No. 1. And No. 2, it's a poll, not a vote. And so the African-American community has been the most loyal community, not only to this president but to the Democratic Party.
INGRAHAM: But Rev. DeGraff, I'm going to try to really focus on these facts because they are alarming.
DEGRAFF: Those are facts.
INGRAHAM: When I saw these facts, they are alarming facts for all Americans but for an already hard-hit African-American community, especially these inner-city numbers are terrible. And in two and a half years, you at some point have to look at a benchmark. I mean, you can blame Bush and just keep blaming Bush but what about the numbers?
DEGRAFF: You are absolutely right that there is unhappiness in the African-American community because we didn't support this president for him to be president of everybody but us. And the disparity numbers in health, in unemployment and in a variety of other indices indicate that our community is suffering and we are listening for his voice now and expect action and activity in the balance of his term. But make no mistake about it: There are 10 other candidates running. None of them have a record that even compares to Barack Obama.
INGRAHAM: Well, Mr. Hutchinson, we can go into what Rick Perry has done for the minority communities inside Texas and the job creation record is actually more impressive than Barack Obama's. But stick to Obama's record here. The numbers are the numbers. My question is a simple one. What has Barack Obama identifiably done, substance and jobs and so forth, for the black community in the United States?
EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, you know, that's a question that many people are asking. It's a legitimate question, too. Many African-Americans quietly and some not so quietly, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, Urban League they're always challenging, challenging, challenging on that point. But we have to remember a couple of things. No. 1, it is true that there has been a tremendous, over the last few years and especially the last year, downturn in the economy. How much Congress, the White House, corporations, the business community and banks are responsible for that, that is subject to debate. But we do know this: that the president is the man at the top. He gets the blame for it and we're looking at many African-Americans saying Mr. President, as others are saying, you made some promises, some of them, of course, could not be kept given the rules of government but, none the less, we expect you to keep those promises. So how much of that is really a realistic expectation or overinflated expectations…
INGRAHAM: You are not lowering the bar for this president, are you?
HUTCHINSON: No, no. It's not lowering, Laura. What it is is just reflecting what some people and I have to emphasize some people in the African-American community and beyond the African-American community have in fact not lowered the bar, they have actually raised the bar and said, Mr. President. They want more.
INGRAHAM: Well, I think they are holding -- I think they are holding him to standards which the president himself said, the president said I don't want people to look at me as an African-American president. I happen to be but I'm the president of all the people. He said that himself. This is what Cornel West said, who is obviously a black scholar and has been on a poverty tour of the United States, the Midwest with Tavis Smiley, who is also a well-known black thinker. Obama's team reached out to West, Cornel West, several times and invited him to meet with the president. Cornel West has declined. He went on to say a beer summit won't help our issues, and he had very strong words to say about his longtime friend and he is President Obama. And he is none to happy about it. Is Cornel West wrong and there just needs to be more time for the all these ideas of the president's to germinate?
HUTCHINSON: I still think it's jobs and the economy. At the end of the day the president or anyone else in elective office is going to be judged on what have you done in terms of a paycheck in my pocket, in terms of my welfare and my well-being. It's going to be the same with the president and it's going to be the same with Congress and it's going to be the same with the candidates running against him. That's not an unrealistic expectation from anyone when you are coming into these communities asking for their support.
DEGRAFF: I think it's important to point out: 80 percent is nothing to sneeze at. There's no other candidate who even approaches that, No. 1. No. 2, Earl is absolutely right and I agree with that except to this extent. The Republicans have made no overtures to the African-American community to address any of our fundamental issues.
INGRAHAM: We'll see. Addressing the economy is everybody's issue.
DEGRAFF: But there -- you mentioned the disparities in the African-American community.
INGRAHAM: Yes. Go to the African-American community. They should.
DEGRAFF: No Republican candidate has addressed those disparities.
INGRAHAM: Yes. I think we will see what happens. We have a long time during this campaign. Gentlemen, I wish we had more time and unfortunately we don't. Thank you so much.
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