Louis Gossett, Jr., Lamman Rucker, Tatyana Ali, Keisha Knight-Pulliam On Pres. Obama & The 2012 Presidential Race (VIDEO)

The 2012 election is in full swing, and so is the fundraising. President Barack Obama was in Los Angeles this week, raising some serious cash from his Hollywood supporters. Black Hollywood supported Obama in 2008 with money, support, endorsements, and hitting the campaign trail.

Will the same be true in 2012? Louis Gossett, Jr., Academy Award winner; Lamman Rucker; Tatyana Ali; and Keisha Knight-Pulliam joined Roland Martin on Washington Watch to discuss how President Obama is perceived in Hollywood.

MR. MARTIN:  The 2012 election is in full swing, and so is the fundraising.  Pres. Barack Obama was in Los Angeles this week, raising some serious cash from his Hollywood supporters.  Black Hollywood was a huge backer of Obama in 2008 with money, support, endorsements, also hitting the campaign trail.

What about this time?  With me to discuss just how the President is perceived here in Hollywood are a number of great people.  First off, Lou Gossett, Jr., Academy Award winner; Lamman Rucker; Tatyana Ali; and Keisha Knight-Pulliam.

Folks, how are we doing?

MR. LOUIS GOSSETT, JR.:  Fantastic.

OFF CAMERA:  Wonderful.


MR. MARTIN:  All right.

MR. LAMMAN RUCKER:  [Crosstalk] – doin’ great.  [Unintelligible.]

MR. MARTIN:  Love it.

First of all, let me start out this way.  It’s been interesting reading some of the comments from other folks.  Let’s say Matt Damon.  He’s been highly critical of Pres. Obama, saying that he hasn’t been tough enough.  He hasn’t stepped up to the plate.  And so when you hear these criticisms, what do you think?  And also, what’s your assessment of the job the President had do- — has done thus far in the past four years?

MR. GOSSETT:  I think he’s done a monumental job.  I think the least of it is him being Black.  I think he’s our president – right?  He’s – he’s upset some Black people ’cause they didn’t have programs for him, but he has been the president for the entire country.  And now his record is beginning to show, because unemployment is down, Wall Street’s up, Detroit’s waking up – all his promises.  And he – he – he – he inherited a problem with a deficit, and he’s doing beautiful.  His next four years will put him in the history books.

MR. MARTIN:  Well, he – he’s already – he’s already said he’s getting elected.

OFF CAMERA:  Oh, yeah.

OFF CAMERA:  Right.  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  Go right ahead.

MS. KEISHA KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  I think you touch on some really important points.  You know, Pres. Obama was given a job that could not be done in the timeframe that has passed.  He needs extra time – not because he hasn’t done his job thus far, but because the problems that he inherited were so great.

You know, I’m a very big, avid, you know, Obama supporter.  I went to the Women for Obama luncheon, where Michelle Obama spoke the week before last, and I’m working with the campaign on college campuses.  And I feel like – you know, I think a lot of people recognize that, you know, there’s still work to be done; and he’s the person to do the job.

MR. MARTIN:  The next generation of young folks – [a] huge, huge part of his platform in terms of his support in 2008.  Yet, we – we’ve seen young folks not particularly happy with the job the President’s done when you look at some poll numbers.  I speak on college campuses all across the country, and what I – when I would say, “President Barack Obama in 2009,” huge response.  In 2010, pretty good response.

MR. RUCKER:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  In 2011, okay.  And so it’s real –

MR. RUCKER:  [Chuckles.]  Gradually –

MR. MARTIN:  — inte- — and so –

MR. RUCKER:  — subsiding.

MR. MARTIN:  — I can always tell by applause levels –

MR. RUCKER:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  — how folks are feeling at the time.

MS. TATYANA ALI:  I think – I – I worked on the campaign last –

MR. MARTIN:  Yes, ’cause you were in –

MS. ALI:  — last season.

MR. MARTIN:  — my book The First.  Yes, you were.

MS. ALI:  Yes, and I worked – spoke on a lot of college campuses, and there is an idealism that Obama’s message really hit on, that spoke to young people.  And I think the reality of what he was confronted with is a very different thing.  I’m really excited to see – and I kind of – I’m speaking it into existence; I think we all are.  I mean –

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  Absolutely.

MS. ALI:  — Mitt Romney – I don’t even –


MS. ALI:  — yeah, exactly.

MR. RUCKER:  [Chuckles.]

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  [Chuckles.]

MS. ALI:  [Chuckles.]  That can happen.  But I – I’m excited to see this second term, because that’s the real freedom.

MR. GOSSETT:  Absolutely.

MS. ALI:  There’s no – this is the second term.

MR. RUCKER:  Right.

MS. ALI:  It’s the last term.  You don’t have to worry about –

MR. RUCKER:  Right.

MS. ALI:  — reelection.  You can really go for broke –

MR. RUCKER:  Right.

MS. ALI:  — which is incredible because in this first term, he did.  He has gone for broke:  healthcare.  The economy is now making this upturn and, hopefully, no one’s going to want to see a switch –

MR. RUCKER:  Yeah, I think –

MS. ALI:  — while things –

MR. RUCKER:  — that’s what –

MS. ALI:  — are – are finally going upward.

MR. RUCKER:  — I think that’s what’s key.  I mean you talk about the – you know, the younger demographic and, you know, the younger generation – which includes us.  [Looks at the other members of the panel, pointedly overlooking Mr. Gossett.]  Um –


MR. MARTIN:  [Laughs.]

MR. RUCKER:  And, uh –


MR. MARTIN:  Lou said –

MR. RUCKER:  — but –

MR. MARTIN:  — “Me, too!”  “Me, too!”

MR. GOSSETT:  [Crosstalk] – “Me, too.  Me, too.”  I’m – [crosstalk] –

MR. RUCKER:  — but – but –

MR. GOSSETT:  — be able to be here –

MR. RUCKER:  — you know?

MR. GOSSETT:  — you know?

MR. MARTIN:  [Chuckles.]

MR. RUCKER:  I think – in saying that, I think this idealism is actually a – you know, a really – really, the perfect word.  And unfortunately, based on that youth, sometimes you can be very sort-sighted [sic] – shortsighted.  I don’t think you really understand the long-term ramifications of how long it actually takes –


MR. RUCKER:  — something to –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. RUCKER:  — eve o- — evolve into what it’s supposed to be.  So, I think once that is start- — you know, that starts to be evident, there’s going to be a greater appreciation for this last four years and the next four.  But most of us are kind of really in this immediate gratification phase that –


MR. RUCKER:  — we expect – [snaps his fingers] – that things to happen [sic] and –

MR. GOSSETT:  [Crosstalk] –

MR. RUCKER:  — turn around much –

OFF CAMERA:  [Crosstalk.]

MR. RUCKER:  — faster than they really can.

MR. MARTIN:  Well, one of –

MR. RUCKER:  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  — the things that I –

MR. RUCKER:  [Chuckles.]


MR. MARTIN:  — that we’ve talked about on this show on man- — on – many times is that, when it comes to making it clear what we want and desire – I – I’ve heard African-Americans across the country.  They say, “Roland, we really shouldn’t ask for certain things because, you know, Whites will be looking at it.”

And I say, “Time out.”  95 percent – he got 95 percent of the Black vote.

MR. GOSSETT:  Um-hum.

MR. MARTIN:  Black women voted at a higher rate than any other group in America.  I said, “Yes, he’s African-American.  Yes” – I said, “But he’s also the 44th President.”

MR. GOSSETT:  [Crosstalk]- —

MR. MARTIN:  My belief is that Black folks, like anybody else, have a right to say, “This is what we want and desire, because” –

OFF CAMERA:  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  — “we also voted, too.”

MR. RUCKER:  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  So, what do you make, though, when people say, “No, no, no, no, no, no.  Don’t do that, because that” –

MR. RUCKER:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — “that might jeopardize the brutha’s opportunity” –

MR. RUCKER:  Right.  Right.  Ri- — [chuckles] –

MS. ALI:  I don’t –

MR. RUCKER:  — right.

MS. ALI:  — I don’t – [crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN:  — and – and – and I –

MR. RUCKER:  We’re so happy –

MR. MARTIN:  — and I –

MR. RUCKER:  — he’s there, we’re just –

MR. MARTIN:  — I’ve heard these[?] –

MR. RUCKER:  — like, “Don’t” –

MR. MARTIN:  — [crosstalk] –

MR. RUCKER:  — “Don’t you be no rabble-rouser” –

MR. MARTIN:  — I –

MR. RUCKER:  — “now!”

MR. MARTIN:  — I mean –

MS. ALI:  [Crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN:  — I’ve heard that from a lot of people!

MR. RUCKER:  “Don’t  you cause” –

MR. GOSSETT:  There’s a dynamic –

MR. RUCKER:  — “no trouble!”

MR. GOSSETT:  — though – there’s a dynamic that –

MR. RUCKER:  [Chuckles.]

MR. GOSSETT:  — we might have forgotten about – what J.F.K. said.  He said ask not what this country f- – can do for you –

MR. RUCKER:  That’s right.

MR. GOSSETT:  — but what you can do for the country.  We have an opportunity, you young folks have an incredible opportunity to be three-dimensional, responsible Americans and keep that man in the White House probably for another four years, if it was possible.  But it’s not waiting for him to do a program for them.

MR. RUCKER:  Right.  Right.

MR. GOSSETT:  It’s f- — it’s – it’s the – the – the modicum [sic] of America, regardless of who you are, is what you can do for the country.

MR. RUCKER:  Right.  And that’s what –


MR. RUCKER:  — got –


MR. RUCKER:  — him in there in the first place.

MR. GOSSETT:  And that act –

MR. RUCKER:  You know?  That’s –

MR. GOSSETT:  — brings the –

MS. ALI:  There’s –

MR. RUCKER:  — mobilizing –

MS. ALI:  — there’s been –

MR. GOSSETT:  — country together.

MR. RUCKER:  — collectively.

MS. ALI:  — so much pushback from Congress.  It’s been such a war in – in Washington, that I mean you literally see our president waging war against Co- — I mean – or, Congress waging war against him.  And he’s traveling.  He’s – he’s – he’s had to go the route of traveling across the country and trying to mobilize support for the things that he’s doing.  What that means is that African-American women – wha- — whatever segment you think you’re in, we should be mobilizing and give him the pressure that –

MR. GOSSETT:  Exactly.


MS. ALI:  — he needs –


MS. ALI:  — to get things done –

MR. GOSSETT:  Yeah[?].

MS. ALI:  — to be able to go into 00


MS. ALI:  — Congress and say, “Look at what your constituents” –


MS. ALI:  — “are saying.”

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  — and – and –

MS. ALI:  “They agree with me.”

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  — we have to change our perspective, because this is our country.

MR. GOSSETT:  Um-hum.

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  You know, it isn’t, you know, those people over there.  No, we all make up this country.

MR. RUCKER:  [Crosstalk.]

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  And it is all ours, and we have to take ownership of that and understand that when we vote, we’re putting people in office to represent our voice – everyone’s voice – Black, White, whoe- — wherever you are.  If you’re an American citizen, they are – their job is to fight our cause.  And we have to hold them accountable.  We have to let them know, “Yes, we put you in office to be our voice” and, you know, follow up.  You know, not enough people are really proactive with that and really find out “what’s going on?”  Okay, what is this congressman – what is his voting record?


MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  W- — you know, what – what has he stood for?  Is it in conflict to what he says he stands for?  Or, is it, in actuality, that he is doing what he says –

MR. RUCKER:  Most people – [crosstalk] –

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  — that he’s doing?

MR. RUCKER:  — [crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN:  Now, all of –

MR. RUCKER:  — [crosstalk].

MR. MARTIN:  — you have said that, clearly, you expect him to be reelected; but, obviously, one never knows.

MR. RUCKER:  I will do –

MR. MARTIN:  Is i- —

MR. RUCKER:  — my part.

MR. MARTIN:  — I gotcha, bu- — bu- —


MR. RUCKER:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  — but f- — but – but follow me here.


MR. MARTIN:  But isn’t it also important for Black folks to demand that Republican candidates speak to our community as well, because if they happen to be elected, they will also be President –

MR. RUCKER:  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  — as you said –

MR. GOSSETT:  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  — of the entire country?

MR. RUCKER:  Absolutely.

MR. GOSSETT:  So – [unintelligible] – Republicans haven’t come to the plate – haven’t quite come to the plate yet because it’s in the DNA.  They have to make a larger adjustment to speak to us, I believe – because that’s the way it’s been for generations.

MR. MARTIN:  Um-hum.

MR. GOSSETT:  The Democrats – they don’t have – have to make such a – an adjustment, ’cause they have more African-American representatives.  But the Republicans – you’re absolutely right – have to be sensitive enough and compassionate enough to speak to us.

But in the meantime, we have to be in that place where they can’t do anything else but speak to us [anything] but the truth.


MR. MARTIN:  Gotcha.

MR. GOSSETT:  That’s our job.

MR. MARTIN:  Final comment.

MS. ALI:  O- —

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  Our job is –


MR. MARTIN:  Ten seconds.

MS. ALI:  — I – I – I don’t see – I mean, honestly, the Republicans ’ve put themselves in such a corner with Tea Party ideology and – and – and morality, that I – I think that’s a really difficult turn for them to make, and I –

MR. MARTIN:  It is –

MS. ALI:  — don’t know –

MR. MARTIN:  — but I –

MS. ALI:  — if that’s gonna happen.

MR. MARTIN:  — it is, but I was –

MR. GOSSETT:  It must be made, though.

MR. MARTIN:  — it is, but –

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  — but the way –

MR. MARTIN:  — I will tell you this.

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  — the way that it’s made –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  — is by showing up and them having to respect the fact –

MR. MARTIN:  Yeah.

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  — they’re coming out.

MR. GOSSETT:  That’s right.

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  They’re going to vote.

MR. RUCKER:  That’s right.

MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  And that’s the only way.  Your vote counts, and if –

OFF CAMERA:  Well – [crosstalk] –


MS. KNIGHT-PULLIAM:  — they don’t believe it, they’re not going to worry about –

MR. MARTIN:  I’ve made –


MR. MARTIN:  — the point very simple.  Whoever the nominee is, that person should come on TV One, come on this show, speak –

OFF CAMERA:  That’s right.

MR. MARTIN:  — to Black folks –

MR. RUCKER:  That’s right.

MR. GOSSETT:  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  — “’cause if you want to be the President” –

MR. RUCKER:  “You gotta come ’round the way.”

MR. MARTIN:  — “you talk to us.”

MR. GOSSETT:  [Crosstalk] –

MR. RUCKER:  [Crosstalk] – “the change, baby.”

MR. MARTIN:  That’s right.

MR. GOSSETT:  — [crosstalk].

MR. RUCKER:  [Chuckles.]  “You gotta come – [unintelligible] – the change – [crosstalk].

MR. MARTIN:  I’m outta time.


MR. MARTIN:  Lou Gossett, Jr., always a pleasure.  Lamman Rucker, thank – [chuckles] – you so very much.

MR. RUCKER:  Absolutely.


MR. MARTIN:  Tatyana Ali, Keisha Knight-Pulliam, thanks a bunch.

Tatiana’s like, “That ain’t gon’ happen.”