On the January 25 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck asserted: "[I]f [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] wants to be consistent, I believe, affirmative action, she should give [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL] an additional 5 percentage points just for the years of oppression." In the same discussion, National Public Radio commentator John Ridley said that "questions about 'Is Obama black enough?' " were "ridiculous." Beck responded by asking: "[C]an you imagine a white commentator saying that? Can you imagine if I said, 'Is Barack Obama black enough?' ... I don't see that man as black. Of course I do, because I'm not blind. I don't see him as black or white. He just is. He's an American. He's a man."
On the February 12, 2007, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Beck commented that Obama is "very white in many ways," adding, "Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, 'What does he mean, "He's very white?" ' He is. He's very white." Later on the February 2007 show, Beck claimed that Obama "is colorless," adding that "as a white guy ... [y]ou don't notice that he is black. So he might as well be white, you know what I mean?"
From the January 25 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:
RIDLEY: Well, hypocrisy, Glenn, doesn't know political ideology. And I think there are a lot of liberals -- and I don't say this to denigrate liberals -- but the fact of the matter is, is that they live comfortably with their liberalism, because they don't necessarily have to deal with it. I mean, a lot of us go home to segregated communities and this and that, no matter that we can live wherever we want.
So, I think the fact that they have to deal with Obama -- you know, they could say Al Sharpton is not going to be president; we don't really have to deal with him, or Jesse Jackson or whomever -- but they've got to deal with Obama.
And for me, personally, a lot of the hypocrisy, I've seen that in a lot of the liberal media, where there were questions about "Is Obama black enough?" and those kinds of things, which are ridiculous. So, I'm not surprised --
BECK: Can you imagine -- John, can you imagine a white commentator saying that? Can you imagine if I said, "Is Barack Obama black enough?" I mean, I don't see -- I don't see that man as black. Of course I do, because I'm not blind. I don't see him as black or white. He just is. He's an American. He's a man.
PETER FENN (Democratic strategist): I mean, the good news -- sorry to interrupt you, Glenn -- the good news, I think, with this is that you have someone like Barack Obama, who is a very serious candidate for president of the United States, who is getting support all across the country, who is, you know, a black man, and a white woman. He is their son.
Now, you know, if someone had said to America, 30 years ago, 40 years ago, could this happen? That would be the farthest thing from their minds. And yet, you know, we are making tremendous progress in this country, and to have a discussion like this about whether someone is black enough or white enough is -- you know -- is outrageous.
BECK: It's insulting. It's insulting. And you know what? It is not the conversation that America is having. It is the conversation, again, politicians, both sides of the aisle, will do whatever they have to do -- they are becoming professional separators. All they do is pull us apart so they can angle and try to grab as many people and ignite their base -- and it's outrageous. And it's happening on all sides, on all issues, and it has got to stop or we're going to disintegrate.
John -- comment?
RIDLEY: Yeah, I would agree with that. I mean, the interesting thing is the Democrats went into this election with an incredible tableau. They had Obama. They had Senator Clinton. They also had Bill Richardson. In addition to, you know, whatever you want to call them -- traditional, capable white guys who are running for president.
So, to be able to present that at the general election, that this is what America represents -- and Glenn, I'm keeping the white guys in there --
BECK: Oh, I know, I appreciate it. John Edwards is in there pitching.
RIDLEY: He's in there. But the idea, even with Edwards, a guy who grew up in impoverished backgrounds and made good, at the general election, as a party, the Democrats could stand up and go, "Look, we represent America's future," regardless of who the actual nominee is now.
RIDLEY: But what are the Republicans going to be able to use in the general election? The sniping and the --
BECK: I have to just -- no, no, please. I have to tell you what I think if Hillary Clinton wants to be consistent, I believe, affirmative action, she should give Barack Obama an additional 5 percentage points just for the years of oppression.
Peter, John, thank you very much.