Washington Watch Roundtable: Gov. Jan Brewer And Disrespect Of President Barack Obama (VIDEO)

Roland Martin and the Washington Watch roundtable discuss Gov. Jan Brewer and President Obama’s exchange in Arizona as well as the level of disrespect being show to President Obama.

This week’s Washington Watch roundtable features Hilary Shelton, executive vice president of the NAACP, April Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, Robert Traynham, MSNBC political analyst and Keli Goff, contributing editor for Loop21.com.

MR. MARTIN:  Lots to discuss this week with our roundtable folks.  Let’s get right to it.

A newbie to our panel is Hilary Shelton –

MS. APRIL RYAN:  [Applauds.]

MR. MARTIN:  — executive vice president of the NAACP.  Clearly, April Ryan is a member of his fan club.

MS. RYAN:  Yes!

MR. MARTIN:  She is, of course –

MS. RYAN:  Yes.

MR. MARTIN:  — April Ryan, the White House correspondent –

MS. RYAN:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  — for American Urban Radio Networks, someone you will never call “quiet” or “shy.”

MS. RYAN:  Amen.


MR. MARTIN:  Robert Traynham, MSNBC political analyst –

MS. RYAN:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  — and Keli Goff, contributor – contributing editor for loop21.com.

All right, folks.  Let’s get right to it.

Hilary, you need to just calm her down, please.  Help me right now.


MR. HILARY SHELTON:  [Crosstalk] – you’re doing great.

MR. MARTIN:  All right.

MR. SHELTON:  You’re doing great.

MR. MARTIN:  Let’s get right to it.  I’m going to get to policy in a minute, but – but I[’ve] got to deal with this topic that Black folks have been talking about like crazy, and that is Arag- [sic] — Arizona governor Jan Brewer losin’ her damn mind.  And so she, of course, meets the President on the tarmac in Arizona.  He makes a comment with regards to some comments that she made in her book, which – which is totally different than what she said after this meeting at the White House.

MR. SHELTON:  Uh-huh.

MR. MARTIN:  And [the] next thing you know, there’s a picture of her pointing her finger at the President.  D- — are – do you-all believe that we’re seeing a level of disrespect towards this president, in total, unlike we’ve seen, frankly, [for] other presidents?

MS. RYAN:  As – as someone –


MR. SHELTON:  Absolutely.

MS. RYAN:  — as someone who has covered the White House – and I’ve seen Hilary all my time at the White House – for the last 15 years – I’ve seen three American presidents – even in the worst of times, when the Monica Lewinsky situation with Bill Clinton, when George Bush sent us to war with a nation that did not put 9-11 together on us, I’ve never seen the level of disrespect of any president – talking about his race, talking about where he was born, making caricatures of him making him look like an animal.  Now, I went – from –  what I’m hearing from the White House about this situation with the Arizona governor is the fact that she was very animated, and the President – and many of these presidents, we see them very presidential –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. RYAN:  — but you don’t know that they are very gregarious, and they’re – they’re – they’re fun people.  But at the same time, she may have taken it a little too far, putting that finger up.

MS. KELI GOFF:  Well – well, I think the technical term for what we saw go down on that tarmac is called “poor home training.”  I believe that’s the official government –

MR. MARTIN:  [Laughs.]

MS. GOFF:  — term for what happened, as per my mother, because the bottom line is – I mean you don’t point at someone, not even someone that is a stranger on the street.  I mean I have a teacher from elementary school my mother is still looking for – Ms. Opal Goff – because that teacher —

MR. MARTIN:  [Chuckles.]

MS. GOFF:  — put her finger in my face.

MR. MARTIN:  Keli, call the teacher out!


MS. GOFF:  So, you know, to do that to the President of the United States – I mean there’s no other word for it except “disrespect.”  They’ve actually done slide shows, Roland, showing how many GOP elected officials have either made inappropriate jokes, made racist comments, or used the term “boy” to describe our president.  Now, I’ve never heard George W. Bush described as a “boy.”  I’ve never heard Bill Clinton described as a “boy.”

So, is the question are we seeing a greater level of disrespect?  I think the answer is a hundred percent “absolutely.”

MR. MARTIN:  Gotcha.

MS. RYAN:  We never heard Reagan –

MR. SHELTON:  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  Robert.

MS. RYAN:  — being called a “boy” –

MS. GOFF:  Right.

MS. RYAN:  — either.

MR. ROBERT TRAYNHAM:  It was title- [sic] – entirely inappropriate for a sitting governor to talk to the President of the United States that way.  It was entirely inappropriate for any human being to talk to another human being that way.  So, you know, the – Gov. Brewer should be put in the doghouse for that.

However –

MR. MARTIN:  Her books have –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — however –

MR. MARTIN:  — [gone] up 150,000 percent –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — be- —

MR. MARTIN:  — on Amazon –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — well, because she’s stri- —

MR. MARTIN:  — after ha- —

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — because she struck a chord.  She struck a chord with a certain group of people – we do- — we know who those people are – who dislike this president because “he’s different from us.”  Let’s just be honest about that.

However, I want to slightly correct the record – slightly – because during the Bush years – and I’m not – certainly not going to defend him; what I’m trying to do is defend the institution of the President of the United States.

MR. MARTIN:  Gotcha.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  He was called “dumb.”  He was called a buffoon.   The senate majority leader at the time, Harry Reid, called him “the” – “the worst liar” – whatever the case was.  So, the – the point is – is that the politics of personal destruction on both sides is at a historic low, and if you rewind – go back to history –

MR. MARTIN:  Gotcha.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — Newt Gingrich was the person that actually brought it to the forefront in terms of personalizing this as a res- — as relates to calling –

MR. MARTIN:  Hilary.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — people names.

MR. SHELTON:  Well –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  It’s wrong on both sides.

MR. SHELTON:  — well, it’s – it’s also contextual.  I mean – [unintelligible] – about this issue.  I agree with you about it being wrong.  I agree with you about it being disrespectful.  I agree with you about it being different, and it is different.  But when you talk about the issues of George Bush, none of those were racially based –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  I agree.


MR. MARTIN:  A- — all –

MR. SHELTON:  — and – and preexisting –

MR. MARTIN:  — [crosstalk] –

MR. SHELTON:  — stereotypes.

MR. MARTIN:  — and also, let me say –

MR. SHELTON:  And that’s –

MR. MARTIN:  — this here.


MR. SHELTON:  — that’s what we have going on here.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  I agree.

MR. MARTIN:  — also – also on this show, whether – we – we call Pres. Barack Obama “President Obama.”  [We] also say “President Bush,” because – again – I believe that’s also part of the deal.

MR. SHELTON:  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  People are too familiar with this president.  So, even on television – I have an issue when people say, “Barack.”  Again, I never called George W. Bush “George” when he was Pres. Bush.  During the debates, the wa- — the analysis was done.  Rick Santorum has called Pres. Barack Obama “President Obama.”  Newt Gingrich consistently refuses to call him “President Obama.”

Isn’t that also part of this whole disrespect of the office?

MR. TRAYNHAM:  Well, he’s not –

MS. GOFF:  Yes, yes.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — in some people’s minds.  He’s never been legitimate because of the whole birth issue, because of his race.  And we[’ve] got to get beyond that.  He is the President of the United States, and regardless of what your personal politics is, give him the respect because of the office that he holds – and also because he’s a human being.

MR. MARTIN:  This week at a Rick Santorum rally, a woman stood up –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  That’s the point.

MR. MARTIN:  — there and said that he – the President was not to be respected because – as to your point – he was illegitimate, that he sh- — that his orders as commander in chief should not be followed.


MR. MARTIN:  And she said he wasn’t born in this country.  And –

MR. SHELTON:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  — what’s interesting was Santorum did not correct her, like McCain did in 2008, and what sh- — what he did [was] he said, “My biggest thing is getting rid of the czars.”

I believe if you are Rick Santorum, you[’ve] got to say, “Ma’am, I’m sorry.”

MR. TRAYNHAM:  I agree.

MR. MARTIN:  “That’s just not correct.”

MS. RYAN:  I – [crosstalk] –

MR. SHELTON:  Well – and – and – [unintelligible] – even further.  When he was asked about it, he said because she was elderly, he didn’t feel that he should question those things publicly in front of everyone else.

MS. RYAN:  John McCain jumped up –

MR. MARTIN:  Sen. John –

MS. RYAN:  — in the last – [crosstalk]- —

MR. MARTIN:  — jumped up – [crosstalk]- —

MS. RYAN:  — Sen. John McCain jumped up –

MR. MARTIN:  — elderly woman – [chuckles] –


MS. RYAN:  — yeah, yeah –

MR. SHELTON:  Yep, yep.

MS. RYAN:  — he jumped in the last, waning hours –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. RYAN:  — and corrected this woman at a – at a meet-and-greet, where she said, “He’s an Arab.”  And she – he said, “No.”  I give him so much credit.

But I’m going to go back to something that you said real quick about George Bush – Pres. George Bush – about he – him being called “dumb.”  Do you know Pres.  Bush has told me himself that he played on the low expectations people had [of] him?  So, he always sur- — surpassed –


MS. RYAN:  — what people –


MR. MARTIN:  — so – so, when somebody called him dumb, he was like, “Okay, fine.  No problem.”

MS. RYAN:  — yes, he played on that.


MR. SHELTON:  Oh, from –

MS. RYAN:  He played on that.

MR. SHELTON:  — from the very –

MS. GOFF:  [Crosstalk] – really quickly.

MR. SHELTON:  — beginning –

MS. GOFF:  There –

MR. SHELTON:  — from the first –

MS. GOFF:  — there’s a bi- —

MR. SHELTON:  — debates with –

MS. GOFF:  — bit of –

MR. SHELTON:  — Al Gore –

MS. RYAN:  Yes –

MR. SHELTON:  — he played on –

MS. RYAN:  — he played on that.

MR. MARTIN:  Keli.

MS. GOFF:  — [crosstalk] –

MR. SHELTON:  — [crosstalk] – low expectations.

MS. GOFF:  — really quickly, there’s a slight –

MS. RYAN:  Yes.

MS. GOFF:  — difference between Santorum’s situation and John McCain’s situ- — Sen. McCain’s situation, which is a general versus a primary – you know?  And – and – I’m not saying that what Sen. McCain did was not genuine, but I am saying that there’re independent voters who look much more kindly upon someone –

MR. MARTIN:  Oh, [I] totally –

MS. GOFF:  — setting the –

MR. MARTIN:  — understand –

MS. GOFF:  — record straight –

MR. MARTIN:  — but – but – but –

MS. GOFF:  — than someone like Sen. Santorum –

MR. MARTIN:  — I –

MS. GOFF:  — who’s got to –

MS. RYAN:  [Crosstalk] –

MS. GOFF:  — go for –

MS. RYAN:  — [crosstalk] – being – [crosstalk] –

MS. GOFF:  — who’s — who’s going –

MS. RYAN:  — right – stirred[?] right now –

MS. GOFF:  — who’s going for those votes –

MS. RYAN:  — in the primary – [crosstalk] –

MS. GOFF:  — of extremists.

MR. MARTIN:  I agree.  Here’s the deal.

MS. RYAN:  — the pot is being –

MR. MARTIN:  Here’s the deal.

MS. RYAN:  — stirred –

MR. MARTIN:  Here’s –

MS. RYAN:  — right now.

MR. MARTIN:  No, but here’s the deal.

MS. RYAN:  He’s not waiting ‘til general – primary – whatever.

MS. GOFF:  But – [crosstalk] –

MS. RYAN:  It’s getting stirred right now.

MR. MARTIN:  But he- —

MS. RYAN:  It needs –

MS. GOFF:  — but I’m saying the same thing.

MS. RYAN:  — to be addressed –

MS. GOFF:  [Crosstalk] – voters that Santorum –

MS. RYAN:  — right now.

MS. GOFF:  — needs to get –

MS. RYAN:  [Crosstalk.]

MR. MARTIN:  — first of all –

MS. RYAN:  It needs to be addressed right now.

MS. GOFF:  — are voters – [crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN:  — first of all –

MS. RYAN:  I’m sorry.  I don’t –

MR. MARTIN:  –first of all –

MS. RYAN:  — agree.

MR. MARTIN:  — I agree to – to – difference – difference between the primary and [the] general, but here’s my overall point.  We cannot have – whether your Republican or Democrat – talk about this country and the lack of civility –

MS. RYAN:  Amen.

MR. MARTIN:  — when we’re unwilling to tell somebody, “Ma’am, I’m sorry.”

MR. TRAYNHAM:  “You’re wrong.”

MR. MARTIN:  “The President” – “You are wrong.”

MS. RYAN:  You have to –

MR. MARTIN:  And I – and –

MS. RYAN:  — stop it right then.

MR. MARTIN:  — I just – right.

MS. RYAN:  You’ve got to –

MR. MARTIN:  And I – I –

MS. RYAN:  — stop it right then!

MR. MARTIN:  — I – I –

MS. GOFF:  Oh, I agree.

MS. RYAN:  [Crosstalk] – wait.

MR. MARTIN:  — I just – I just think that –

MS. GOFF:  We – we’re actually not disagreeing on that, but I’m saying the –

MR. MARTIN:  — I understand –

MS. GOFF:  — [crosstalk] – thinking –

MR. MARTIN:  — why.

MS. GOFF:  — behind why he did it –

MR. MARTIN:  No, I get it why.

MS. GOFF:  — which is that he’s –

MR. MARTIN:  I’m saying he –

MS. GOFF:  — trying to go for –

MR. MARTIN:  — should have.

MS. GOFF:  — the base –

MR. MARTIN:  I’m simply saying he should have.

MS. GOFF:  — of voters –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  I agree.

MS. RYAN:  The pot –

MR. SHELTON:  Without question.  It’s –

MS. RYAN:  — is being stirred.  You’ve got to stop it right now.

MS. GOFF:  — or, you should stop it, but –

MR. SHELTON:  — and – and it’s a distraction.

MS. GOFF:  — if he wants to win, that doesn’t help him.

MR. SHELTON:  At – at some point, we’ve got to get down to the real issues that are facing our country:  jobs –

MS. RYAN:  Amen.

MR. SHELTON:  — education, opportunity.  All those things have to be addressed.  Our international portfolio[?] and those concerns, even[?] as we’re bringing the troops back.  These become such problematic distractions, that we can’t dre- — address the real issues.  That also means that America has trouble assessing even the candidates that are running for these offices – particularly as we go through the –


MR. SHELTON:  — Republican primaries.

MR. MARTIN:  Panel, hold tight –

MR. SHELTON:  It’s got to happen.

MR. MARTIN:  — one second.  When we come back, we’re going to pick up on some of those – those issues.  We’ll talk about the GOP debate as well.  I want to get into that, because guess what?  Mitt Romney – all that money he made – re- — released –

MS. RYAN:  [Crosstalk] – Mitt Romney.

MR. MARTIN:  — on Tuesday.  Mitt needs to send his debate coach a big check –

MS. RYAN:  Amen!

MR. MARTIN:  — ’cause he did better on –

MS. RYAN:  Amen!  [Claps.]

MR. MARTIN:  — Thursday.  So –

MS. RYAN:  Amen.  [Claps.]

MR. MARTIN:  — okay.

MS. RYAN:  He did.

MR. MARTIN:  Okay, the choir calm down.

MS. RYAN:  [Laughs.]

MR. MARTIN:  We got the Church Lady in the house.

MS. RYAN:  [Laughs.]

MR. MARTIN:  All you missin’ is yo’ big church hat.


MR. MARTIN:  All right.  Stay with us.

MS. RYAN:  Oh, Lord!  [Chuckles.]

  • Anonymous

    We are calling the senator’s office to day to voice complaint about her disrespect. I have already called. Rickey Smiley has also encouraged his listeners to call. Join us in this protest. 602-542-4331.