CNN's Bennett: "Barack Hussein Obama ... has taught the black community you don't have to act like Jesse Jackson ... like Al Sharpton"

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

Following CNN's projection that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) would win the Iowa Democratic caucus, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper asked CNN contributor and conservative radio talk show host Bill Bennett: "[D]oes this change the game a lot?" As Alex Koppelman noted at Salon.com's War Room blog, Bennett replied, "[A] remarkable breakthrough, this year, as the other group said -- 97 percent, in fact, Iowa, rural, white farming state. Barack Hussein Obama, a black man, wins this for the Democrats." Bennett added: "[Obama] never brings race into it. He never plays the race card. Talk about the black community -- he has taught the black community you don't have to act like Jesse Jackson; you don't have to act like Al Sharpton. You can talk about the issues."

During the September 28, 2005, edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, as Media Matters for America documented at the time, Bennett sparked a widespread controversy when he told a caller:

BENNETT: I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.

From the 9 p.m. ET hour of CNN's January 3 coverage of the Iowa caucuses:

COOPER: Let's go check in with our political contributors. Bill Bennett, does this change the game a lot?

BENNETT: Well, I think it's -- and again, a wonder of America here, a remarkable breakthrough, this year, as the other group said -- 97 percent, in fact, Iowa, rural, white farming state. Barack Hussein Obama, a black man, wins this for the Democrats.

I have been watching him. I watched him on Meet the Press. I watched him on your show, watched him on all the CNN shows -- he never brings race into it. He never plays the race card. Talk about the black community -- he has taught the black community you don't have to act like Jesse Jackson; you don't have to act like Al Sharpton. You can talk about the issues. Great dignity. And this is a breakthrough, and good for the people of Iowa.

And, what does this -- and, you know, what does this mean? That, you know, it matters not to Hillary Clinton to lose this. She lost to Barack Obama in this state. It's a remarkable thing. It's a change in American politics. Whether he goes on and wins other states, this is something very good that's happened.

COOPER: [Democratic strategist] Donna [Brazile], we're going to pick up with you in a moment, but [host] Wolf [Blitzer] you have an interview with [CNN congressional correspondent] Dana Bash and [Huckabee for President national campaign chairman] Ed Rollins.

Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Bill Bennett
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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