Thursday Night Fights: Hannity and Colmes Take on Rev. Al Sharpton Over Racist Ad

In a rare edition of our “Friday Night Fights” feature, the well-known duo from the Fox News hit “Hannity & Colmes” teamed together on Thursday to take on Rev. Al Sharpton (hat tip to our friend at Ms Underestimated). To set this melee up, a radio ad was played in Atlanta, Georgia, just before Election Day suggesting that a Republican-run America is like the United States before the civil rights movement (as reported by NewsBusters here):

You think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the Sixties was bad, imagine if we sit idly by and let the right-wing Republicans take control of the Fulton County Commission.

Rev. Al Sharpton was invited on H&C to discuss this outrage, and was met with punches from both sides when he didn’t condemn the message. Colmes began (video and full transcript follow): “I'll tell you, Reverend, I'm glad Democrats won, but I don't like ads that compare Republicans to Bill Connor. And you don't really believe that if Republicans got re-elected there that Bull Connor would -- his spirit would live on.”

Sharpton predictably didn't agree, and countered: “Two of the people on the ad fought Bull Connor. And I think that it's pretty arrogant for people to tell people, one who was beaten into a coma on the Selma Bridge, how they feel.” Colmes then stated that he didn’t like the ad against Harold Ford in Tennessee, but Sharpton didn’t see the connection: “How do you compare an ad that tries to suggest Harold Ford with a white woman with John Lewis, who was beaten in the civil rights movement?”

Again, Colmes tried to knock some sense into his guest: "Maybe John Lewis didn't know the voice-over on that ad would actually say if you don't elect the Democrats it's going to go back to the day of water hoses and dogs. But you don't believe that -- you don't believe would have happened?"

Sharpton still fought back: “I believe that a lot of the policies that were being represented, particularly in voter disenfranchisement, with several I.D.s and all in Georgia, absolutely.” This precipitated a heated exchange:

COLMES: Back in the days of Bull Connor? I mean, Bull Conner?

SHARPTON: The policies of voter suppression and voter denial, absolutely.

COLMES: And there would be dogs put on blacks with water hoses?

SHARPTON: I don't think the ad said that. Well, again, now you're talking about implying. What the ad said clearly is, if you look at the voter suppression records that were fought successfully in court, by the way, in Georgia in this election, would have certainly led back to a denial of vote.

Seeing that his partner was getting nowhere, Hannity tagged Colmes, and jumped in the ring. What ensued was nothing less than a brawl, and can only be done justice with the full exchange as follows:

HANNITY: All right. Reverend Sharpton, let's go to what the ad said. If you think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the 60s was bad, imagine if we sit by and let these Republicans win this election. Your very life may depend on it.

Reverend Sharpton, you have an obligation not to support this type of race baiting. You are a leader in the African-American community. This is garbage. This is race baiting.

SHARPTON: Sean, you didn't march one mile for civil rights.

HANNITY: I was friends with Hosea Williams when I lived in Atlanta. I was friends with Maynard Jackson.

SHARPTON: ... Hosea Williams. I was friends with Maynard Jackson, too. And Shirley Franklin was on there. I met Maynard Jackson -- just a second.

HANNITY: This is a disgrace to say this.

SHARPTON: John Lewis was there. You're not talking about...

HANNITY: I admire his courage.

SHARPTON: And John Lewis is on the ad. And John Lewis is on the ad.

HANNITY: John Lewis is basically saying that if you elect Republicans it's more dangerous than fighting off dogs and hoses in the '60s. That's race baiting, Reverend. And in this day and age that's disgraceful.

SHARPTON: I think that it appeals to all Georgians, white and black.

HANNITY: You want power that bad? You want power that bad...

SHARPTON: I want courage (ph) that bad.

HANNITY: ... that you are going to play the race card and divide this country?

SHARPTON: I think what they tried to do with those suppressive measures of voter I.D. in Georgia came right out of an era that John Lewis and others fought.

HANNITY: Here's the bottom line.

SHARPTON: And you should denounce that. What they tried to do was rob people of democracy.

HANNITY: You said -- you said once that you challenged the Democrats that they only come to the African-American community during election time. Remember that?

SHARPTON: Correct.

HANNITY: Now here's what we see every election cycle.

SHARPTON: We're not talking about -- we're talking about civil rights era.

HANNITY: Hang on. Every election cycle we get an ad like this. In Missouri in '98, if you elect Republicans black churches are going to burn. When Al Gore was running in 2000, we got the NAACP ad. We got Al Gore going into black churches and saying if the Republicans don't even want to count you in the census.

At what time do we say that America is united?

SHARPTON: ... Sean Hannity, saying that if you do not go with the agenda that represents you we're going back to days before we had the right to vote. If Jews said that we could not have days with anti-Semitism, I wouldn't resent it. How do you recent John Lewis and Andrew Young talking about an era that they fought in? You will not answer the question.

HANNITY: First of all -- listen, and I'll give you the answer. Listen closely. I admire John Lewis, what he did. What he did with -- Hosea Williams was a regular on my program for many years in Atlanta, as was Maynard Jackson when he was mayor.

SHARPTON: And you attacked him usually.

HANNITY: No, I did not. I got -- Hosea Williams and I -- I went every year for his charity and helped him.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: ... did stuff for him. I love the guy. I am telling you here that this race baiting has got to stop. And you need to lead the way because you have an influence.

SHARPTON: Well -- if that is race baiting...

HANNITY: That is race baiting.

SHARPTON: When you are robbing people of the right to talk about their legitimate fears of what they fought and they see signs of coming. I not only admired John Lewis; I admire him now.

HANNITY: Al Sharpton, if there was anybody with hoses, if there's anybody fighting off...

SHARPTON: They didn't say hoses. They said go back to the times.

HANNITY: he said if you think that was bad, imagine if we elect Republicans. Your very life may depend on it. In other words it will be worse now.

SHARPTON: You refer to hoses, and you very methodically leave the line out he said go back to those times. And believe me to be told that you cannot vote unless you have these kind of suppressive...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: You want power that bad?

SHARPTON: Yes.

HANNITY: Is power that important to you as Democrats?

SHARPTON: I want justice that bad. I want justice that bad.

HANNITY: That you'll compromise your values and play the race card?

SHARPTON: I think it was injustice what they tried to do in Georgia.

HANNITY: You're making excuses.

COLMES: All right, Reverend. We got to go.

SHARPTON: You're making excuses. You will not deal with that ad.

COLMES: You going to run for office again?

SHARPTON: I don't know.

COLMES: All right.

SHARPTON: I'm enjoying winning...

COLMES: To be continued.

Amazing. What follows is the full transcript of this epic battle, and a video link courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated.

COLMES: And meanwhile, Republicans are still outraged about the last minute radio ad we played for you last night on "Hannity & Colmes". The ad features Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Congressman John Lewis and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young and compares a Republican-run America to America before the civil rights movement. In case you missed it here, here it is again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On November 7 we face the most dangerous situation we've ever have. You think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the Sixties was bad, imagine if we sit idly by and let the right-wing Republicans take control of the Fulton County Commission.

MAYOR SHIRLEY FRANKLIN, ATLANTA: The efforts of Martin and Coretta King, Hosea Williams, Maynard Jackson and many others will be lost. That's why we must stand up, and we must turn out the vote for the Democrats on election day. Day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLMES: I'll tell you, Reverend, I'm glad Democrats won. But I don't like ads that compare Republicans to Bill Connor. And you don't really believe that if Republicans got re-elected there that Bull Connor would -- his spirit would live on. That's a racially tinged...

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Two of the people on the ad fought Bull Connor. And I think that it's pretty arrogant for people to tell people, one who was beaten into a coma on the Selma Bridge, how they feel.

COLMES: That's John Lewis.

SHARPTON: John Lewis. I mean, we're not talking about people that were not personally involved, personally and physically affected, expressing their fears and their feelings.

COLMES: But look, I don't like the Harold Ford ad. I think it was a vicious...

SHARPTON: How do you compare an ad that tries to suggest Harold Ford with a white woman with John Lewis, who was beaten in the civil rights movement? Andrew Young, who was executive director of the civil rights movement. Talking about their...

COLMES: Maybe John Lewis didn't know the voice-over on that ad would actually say if you don't elect the Democrats it's going to go back to the day of water hoses and dogs. But you don't believe that -- you don't believe would have happened?

SHARPTON: I believe that a lot of the policies that were being represented, particularly in voter disenfranchisement, with several I.D.s and all in Georgia, absolutely.

COLMES: Back in the days of Bull Connor? I mean, Bull Conner?

SHARPTON: The policies of voter suppression and voter denial, absolutely.

COLMES: And there would be dogs put on blacks with water hoses?

SHARPTON: I don't think the ad said that. Well, again, now you're talking about implying. What the ad said clearly is, if you look at the voter suppression records that were fought successfully in court, by the way, in Georgia in this election, would have certainly led back to a denial of vote.

COLMES: Let me ask your reaction to the resignation of Ken Mehlman, which just -- we just had in this breaking news here on FOX News.

SHARPTON: Well, I brought a hanky for Sean.

COLMES: This is, I guess, normal when your party -- I mean there's a cycle. I thought he was going to step down in January. Seems like he's stepping down earlier than would normally be the case.

SHARPTON: If it had gone the other way people would have been calling for Howard Dean's resignation. And I heard people say that Howard Dean would be finished, because they weren't going to retake the House. And that didn't happen.

HANNITY: All right. Reverend Sharpton, let's go to what the ad said. If you think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the 60s was bad, imagine if we sit by and let these Republicans win this election. Your very life may depend on it.

Reverend Sharpton, you have an obligation not to support this type of race baiting. You are a leader in the African-American community. This is garbage. This is race baiting.

SHARPTON: Sean, you didn't march one mile for civil rights.

HANNITY: I was friends with Hosea Williams when I lived in Atlanta. I was friends with Maynard Jackson.

SHARPTON: ... Hosea Williams. I was friends with Maynard Jackson, too. And Shirley Franklin was on there. I met Maynard Jackson -- just a second.

HANNITY: This is a disgrace to say this.

SHARPTON: John Lewis was there. You're not talking about...

HANNITY: I admire his courage.

SHARPTON: And John Lewis is on the ad. And John Lewis is on the ad.

HANNITY: John Lewis is basically saying that if you elect Republicans it's more dangerous than fighting off dogs and hoses in the '60s. That's race baiting, Reverend. And in this day and age that's disgraceful.

SHARPTON: I think that it appeals to all Georgians, white and black.

HANNITY: You want power that bad? You want power that bad...

SHARPTON: I want courage (ph) that bad.

HANNITY: ... that you are going to play the race card and divide this country?

SHARPTON: I think what they tried to do with those suppressive measures of voter I.D. in Georgia came right out of an era that John Lewis and others fought.

HANNITY: Here's the bottom line.

SHARPTON: And you should denounce that. What they tried to do was rob people of democracy.

HANNITY: You said -- you said once that you challenged the Democrats that they only come to the African-American community during election time. Remember that?

SHARPTON: Correct.

HANNITY: Now here's what we see every election cycle.

SHARPTON: We're not talking about -- we're talking about civil rights era.

HANNITY: Hang on. Every election cycle we get an ad like this. In Missouri in '98, if you elect Republicans black churches are going to burn. When Al Gore was running in 2000, we got the NAACP ad. We got Al Gore going into black churches and saying if the Republicans don't even want to count you in the census.

At what time do we say that America is united?

SHARPTON: ... Sean Hannity, saying that if you do not go with the agenda that represents you we're going back to days before we had the right to vote. If Jews said that we could not have days with anti-Semitism, I wouldn't resent it. How do you recent John Lewis and Andrew Young talking about an era that they fought in? You will not answer the question.

HANNITY: First of all -- listen, and I'll give you the answer. Listen closely. I admire John Lewis, what he did. What he did with -- Hosea Williams was a regular on my program for many years in Atlanta, as was Maynard Jackson when he was mayor.

SHARPTON: And you attacked him usually.

HANNITY: No, I did not. I got -- Hosea Williams and I -- I went every year for his charity and helped him.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: ... did stuff for him. I love the guy. I am telling you here that this race baiting has got to stop. And you need to lead the way because you have an influence.

SHARPTON: Well -- if that is race baiting...

HANNITY: That is race baiting.

SHARPTON: When you are robbing people of the right to talk about their legitimate fears of what they fought and they see signs of coming. I not only admired John Lewis; I admire him now.

HANNITY: Al Sharpton, if there was anybody with hoses, if there's anybody fighting off...

SHARPTON: They didn't say hoses. They said go back to the times.

HANNITY: he said if you think that was bad, imagine if we elect Republicans. Your very life may depend on it. In other words it will be worse now.

SHARPTON: You refer to hoses, and you very methodically leave the line out he said go back to those times. And believe me to be told that you cannot vote unless you have these kind of suppressive...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: You want power that bad?

SHARPTON: Yes.

HANNITY: Is power that important to you as Democrats?

SHARPTON: I want justice that bad. I want justice that bad.

HANNITY: That you'll compromise your values and play the race card?

SHARPTON: I think it was injustice what they tried to do in Georgia.

HANNITY: You're making excuses.

COLMES: All right, Reverend. We got to go.

SHARPTON: You're making excuses. You will not deal with that ad.

COLMES: You going to run for office again?

SHARPTON: I don't know.

COLMES: All right.

SHARPTON: I'm enjoying winning...

COLMES: To be continued.

Video Link

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.