Donny Deutsch Predicts Women and Minorities Will 'Cost' Romney Election

During a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today about Mitt Romney's NAACP speech, advertising executive Donny Deutsch gave credit to the Republican presidential candidate for making the appearance, but proclaimed: "...this is going to be what I'll call the demographic election, women, Latinos and African-Americans are going to cost him the election."

Co-host Savannah Guthrie began the discussion by noting audience reaction to Romney at the event: "...he, on a few different occasions, got sustained boos from the audience, but also later some applause....Did you guys think it was rude that they're were boos?" Deutsch chimed in: "No, I think that's what people do, you know?"

Deutsch did applaud Romney's effort: "The one thing I will give him points for, he stayed on message. He didn't all of a sudden start to go, 'Okay, I'm talking to a Af-Am audience, I'm going to be on message.'" Attorney Star Jones similarly observed: "I am actually encouraged that he went because I don't think that taking African-Americans and their vote – or our vote –  for granted is a smart thing."

Jones added: "...we are a very diverse group of people. Were are not a monolith. You know, we gave birth to Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas. So at any given time you can appeal to a different section."

Later in the discussion, Guthrie brought up actor Morgan Freeman "actually in context of defending the President against some of the birther controversy, said he's actually not our first African-American president, he's – or our first black president. He said he's America's first mixed-race president..."

Jones argued: "I have to say, it does sometimes get tiresome to have to hold up the blood-stained banner all the time in these kinds of conversations. However, if you don't hold up the blood-stained banner, people forget our history....[Freeman's] wrong factually. President Obama may be more black than anybody walking around."

Deutsch went after Freeman more aggressively: "I think he's stirring the race card by doing that. I think if I'm an American, I celebrate the fact that we have our first black president. He's like, 'No, technically he isn't.' Like, dude, not black enough for you? I don't understand that."

Jones then ran to Freeman's defense: "No, he didn't, that's not – that's not really – one, you have to read the whole thing in context....you only read a portion of what the media wanted you to read. Read the whole thing."


Here is a full transcript of the July 12 exchange:

9:01AM ET TEASE:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Also ahead, we have our in-house celebrities, Star, Donny and Nancy, they are here to talk about the hot topics of the day, including race on the campaign trail. We of course had Mitt Romney before the NAACP yesterday, where he got some boos, as well as applause. And of course Morgan Freeman, the famous actor and Obama supporter, has made comments about the President's race that some people say have raised some eyebrows.

9:16AM ET SEGMENT:

GUTHRIE: Back now with Today's Professionals, our team of power players weighing in on the hottest headlines and stories making news. Star Jones is an attorney and author, Donny Deutsch, chairman of Deutsch Incorporated, and Dr. Nancy Snyderman is NBC's chief medical editor, making her third appearance this morning.

NANCY SNYDERMAN: Yes!

GUTHRIE: Busy lady. What, are you all sleeping in and Nancy's working hard?

STAR JONES: Working hard for the money.

GUTHRIE: We want to start with race and politics. A couple of topics to talk about. Mitt Romney before the NAACP yesterday and he, on a few different occasions, got sustained boos from the audience, but also later some applause. Here's my question to you is, do you think he was honestly trying to peel off some of the African-American vote or was this a smart decision by him to go in and speak before a crowd he knows largely doesn't agree with him? Star?

JONES: I am actually encouraged that he went because I don't think that taking African-Americans and their vote – or our vote –  for granted is a smart thing. I think that obviously President Obama has the vast majority of African-Americans who support him, but we are a very diverse group of people. Were are not a monolith. You know, we gave birth to Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas. So at any given time you can appeal to a different section.

GUTHRIE: Did you guys think it was rude that they're were boos?

DONNY DEUTSCH: No, I think that's what people do, you know? The one thing I will give him points for, he stayed on message. He didn't all of a sudden start to go, 'Okay, I'm talking to a Af-Am audience, I'm going to be on message.' Look, what's going to decide this election, this is going to be what I'll call the demographic election, women, Latinos and African-Americans are going to cost him the election.

SNYDERMAN: Do you think, though, that because he went and stayed on message – and he should be applauded for that – today Vice President Biden's going, the President is not, does the President just, in doing that, say, 'I assume I'm going to get the votes so I don't have to be there'?  

JONES: I don't think so at all. I think that with Vice President Biden being there, the representation of this administration is there.

SNYDERMAN: And that's enough?

JONES: He's not the black president. He's the President of the United States of America.

DEUTSCH: According to Morgan Freeman he's definitely not.

JONES: You know?

GUTHRIE: Actually, we quickly want to touch on that because Morgan Freeman, a big supporter of the President, did an interview, and actually in context of defending the President against some of the birther controversy, said he's actually not our first African-American president, he's – or our first black president. He said he's America's first mixed-race president, pointing out that of course President Obama's mother was white.

JONES: She was.

SNYDERMAN: Well, If you believe in the origin of man, we're all black. So perhaps it's just time that we get it.

[LAUGHTER]

JONES: No, we're all African. We're all African.

DEUTSCH: I'm waiting for you on this.

JONES: You know, at one point, I have to say, it does sometimes get tiresome to have to hold up the blood-stained banner all the time in these kinds of conversations. However, if you don't hold up the blood-stained banner, people forget our history.

DEUTSCH: Do you have a problem with what he said?

JONES: No, not in the least bit. One, he – I mean, I could care less.

SNYDERMAN: You do?

DEUTSCH: Yeah.

JONES: Morgan Freeman is in charge of what he wants to say. However, he's wrong factually. President Obama may be more black than anybody walking around. He is truly African-American.

DEUTSCH: Two points. Number one, I interviewed Charles Barkley once and he has a white wife and they have a daughter of mixed race. He said when you have one black parent, this is Charles Barkley, you define yourself as black. That's A. Number two, he said a black president hasn't arisen yet. In certain ways, I think he's stirring the race card by doing that. I think if I'm an American, I celebrate the fact that we have our first black president. He's like, 'No, technically he isn't.' Like, dude, not black enough for you? I don't understand that.  

JONES: No, he didn't, that's not – that's not really – one, you have to read the whole thing in context.

DEUTSCH: I'm just reading what I read.

JONES: No, you only read a portion of what the media wanted you to read. Read the whole thing.

DEUTSCH: Okay.

JONES: Read the entire thing, that's number one. Number two is-

DEUTSCH: He said the first African-American president hasn't arisen yet.

JONES: But you know what? It's not what they call you, it's what you answer to. The man is a black man.

GUTHRIE: Alright guys, I'm using my gong to move us on to the next topic.

JONES: Sorry, I apologize.

GUTHRIE: But we will revisit this issue for sure, okay?

JONES: You think?

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC