TUCKER CARLSON: Barack Obama was talking about a quiet riot today. And no, it was not a reference to a 1980s heavy metal band, unfortunately. The senator waded into the controversial waters of race during a speech Hampton University in Virginia. He said the Bush administration has done little to quell a brewing storm among some black Americans. He compared the current tension to what fueled the L.A. riots in the wake of the Rodney King verdict.
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SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: These quiet riots that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires of destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and death. They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. The stare takes hold in young people all across the country; look at the way the world is and they believe that things are never going to get better.
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CARLSON: This is not the first time Obama has sounded such an alarm, but will this kind of rhetoric help or hurt his chances to become president? We welcome back MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen and senior editor of the "New Republic" Michael Crowley.
Hillary, it seems to me that when people burn down stores, kill because they`re Korean, or beat people in the head with cinder blocks because of their race, like Reginald Denny, that`s not a political statement. That`s just crime. And Barack Obama seems to me to be giving a political justification to totally unacceptable, never justifiable behavior. And I think it`s pretty outrageous.
ROSEN: I don`t think that is what he is saying. I give him credit for talking about this, although I don`t think he is alone here. John Edwards has been talking about poverty taking over too much of America. Hillary Clinton has been talking about the invisible people that this administration doesn`t take care of.
I think there is a sense of alienation among poor and minorities in this country, but I feel that there`s a disconnect.
CARLSON: I think that`s great and --
ROSEN: And the fact that it simmers with anger, guess what, it does.
CARLSON: But there`s never any justification -- the people who killed Koreans or beat Reginald Denny behaved like animals. And there`s just no justifying what they did, and there`s no explaining it away as a political statement. Because it wasn`t. It was crime.
ROSEN: Well, look, I think if you parsed his words with him, I don`t know that he would say that he is justifying crime. I think what he is talking about is --
CARLSON: But he said the riots came out of neglect. That`s another way of justifying it. And it just seems to me that we need to draw the line really, really clearly between political demonstrations, which are obviously legitimate and good in some cases, and violence, which is bad.
ROSEN: No, I think what he is saying is we all have a role to play. And yes, maybe the riots resulted in really bad things and crime, but what fueled the riots and what fuels the alienation is something that people have not dealt with.
CARLSON: -- shot gun. I think -- plus it was raced based. That riot was raced based and nobody ever said that. Nobody ever did a follow up. Where is Reginald Denny today. Do you know what I mean? That`s because he`s white. That`s what the riot was about, but you`re not allowed to say that for some reason. But it`s true.
ROSEN: Well, it followed a police verdict for a guy who got beaten up because he was black.
CARLSON: The guys never went to prison and the people who burned down the stores --
ROSEN: You`re focusing much to much on the L.A. riots from his speech. I don`t think he said that. I think what he said was that there was alienation and despair among young black people and that exists --
CARLSON: That`s fair and I agree with that. I just think, got to draw the line at violence.
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