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Smiley and West: Rush Is Right

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: You know, we've talked on this program before about Tavis Smiley of PBS and Cornel West, noted academic. He's been at Harvard; he's been at Princeton. These guys, ladies and gentlemen, have -- and I kind of like this. I kind of admire these guys in the sense they've had a national poverty tour. They've been doing this for I don't know how long. They've been traveling the country trying to call attention, raise consciousness about poverty in America and about how bad it is.

This is another thing that doesn't get a whole lot of coverage in the country. News reports don't talk about poverty in America. You would never know there is any, except that Cornel West and Tavis Smiley have had this traveling... It's not a road show, but they're doing appearances. They're just stopping in various cities to try to call attention to it. It's another one of these things that, if you're paying attention to what's in the media, you wouldn't know.

I mean, we know there's a bad economy and we know that unemployment's up, but poverty is at an all-time high. Smiley and Cornel West are out trying to call attention to it. You gotta give 'em credit for that. At least they're trying to do something about it. Well, my name came up on Tavis Smiley's show on public radio, The Smiley & West Show. It came up on yesterday's show, because I referenced John Lewis and Selma in relation to gun control. This is what they had to say about it...

SMILEY: Slavery and, uh, civil rights have been, uh, injected now in this gun control debate with our friend Rush Limbaugh suggesting the other day, and I quote, "If John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beaten upside the head on that bridge?" It's just fascinating to see all the arguments that are now being waged.

WEST: My hunch is one reason why California has such severe laws is because of my brothers and sisters in the Black Panther Party, who did follow the law and did buy guns, all of a sudden generated a deep concern about a ban on assault weapons. So, I mean, Rush, in his own reaction way --

SMILEY: (chuckling) But I think there is something there, though. Let's be honest about it. If every black person or every brown person in America had a gun?

WEST: Oh, there would be a ban on guns quick!

SMILEY: (laughing)

WEST: Believe me you!

RUSH: I don't know what these guys' problem with me is. You know, they have to take their shots at me, but then they end up saying I've got a point. If John Lewis and others at the Selma march had been armed, they wouldn'ta been fire hosed and they wouldn't have the dogs turned loose on 'em. This all came up last week as part of the gun control debate, but I'm not the one that injected slavery into this. I forget what the story was.

I was reacting. There was somebody. Somebody last week made claim that the Second Amendment was all about slavery. Whoever it was last week said that the Founding Fathers put the Second Amendment in there so that slave owners could have guns to keep slaves under control, and I thought that was a specious and silly argument. I pointed out the Second Amendment didn't prevent freed slaves from having guns.

The Second Amendment said that everybody could. I'm just trying to make a point. If John Lewis had had a gun while he's marching across the bridge in Selma, he would not have been beaten upside the head, and if he had it wouldn'ta lasted very long. He wouldn't even have had to fire the gun. All he woulda had to do is brandish it. So I don't know what these guys' problem is. I didn't "inject" slavery and civil rights in the gun debate. Somebody else did this last week.

END TRANSCRIPT

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