An utterly reliable correspondent sends me a transcript, personally prepared by the correspondent, of Juan Williams on the past Fox News Sunday, speaking about Obama and the damage that the Trinity Church scandal has caused his campaign:
CHRIS WALLACE: Juan, what do you make of the fact that he [Barack Obama] has, for the last three months – all of March, all of April, all of May – he’s lost to Hillary Clinton and is there any fatal, or permanent, damage done to him?
JUAN WILLIAMS: Well, this comes back to the same numbers Byron [York] was talking about in Fox News Sunday today. These are Pew numbers that came out this week that indicate that since February – since the very timeframe we’re talking about, since March 4 – his favorability numbers have been going down … disapproval has been climbing … and this is especially true among white working class voters and, as a subset of that, very true among white women.
So now we are coming to the swing votes. Unlike Bill Kristol, I think that the fact that John McCain is head-to-head with Senator Barack Obama is an indication of Senator Barack Obama’s weakness. I think the Democrat, according to the generic, should be far ahead and this shouldn’t even be a contest. Instead, what we’ve seen is that Barack Obama has been struggling and much of this is attributable to his personal attributes. Personal attributes brings me back to Rev. Wright and brings me back to Father Pfleger, and … I thought what Father Pfleger did was almost minstrel-like. You know, it’s unbelievable. He looked like a white guy trying to perform like a black minister and doing a poor job of it. And trying to act as if he’s playing to a crowd in …[crosstalk].
CHRIS WALLACE: According to the choir in the background, they were buying it.
JUAN WILLIAMS: They were buying it. That’s exactly right. I think it’s the difference between catering to someone and saying, “You know what, I’m going to give you what you want.” You can do that and pander to someone. This was pandering of the worst sort. I think it was insulting.
CHRIS WALLACE: Any worse pandering than Rev. Wright?
JUAN WILLIAMS: No, no. I think these guys are the worst of this, kind of, TV evangelists who go after people in terms of their weaknesses, and for a black audience on the south side of Chicago – people who are struggling to make a living, people who don’t understand sometime the larger social forces that are evident in their lives – these guys come in and take their money by playing to their worst fears and attitudes and racial biases.
That’s a different conversation, Chris, but it does not play with a candidate who says, “I’m about racial unity” which is what Barack Obama, who started out as the candidate of white, young Americans – it doesn’t play for that candidate. And it’s one of the reasons that I think we’ve seen an increasing number of people in the polls saying, “We’re not sure about this guy. We feel we know him less today than we did back in March.”
CHRIS WALLACE: We only have about thirty seconds left and [speaking to Byron York:] Byron, we’ll get to you next time but this is very interesting. [Speaking to Juan Williams:] Is this something that he can turn around? He’s quit the church. Is it something he can turn around? We’re got a long time … we’ve got five months until the election.
JUAN WILLIAMS: The problem with turning it around is that he had twenty years in the church. So he’s got to argue, “You know what, I really am not of the Father Pfleger’s and the Rev. Wright’s, despite the fact that I was there for so long and found it convenient – or politically expedient, for a not very generous perspective – to say I was in that church. Now, how does he turn it around? He’s got to make a display but can he sell it this time? Because rational people are going to say, “This is the guy that I saw for twenty years and this is where he was. Why should I buy this new image when this is the reality that existed for so long?”
CHRIS WALLACE: [Breaks for commercial – end of segment.]