When Roland Martin was at the Democratic National Convention, he talked to his fraternity brother, actor, author and activist Hill Harper. Harper is also pretty close to Pres. Barack Obama. They were classmates at Harvard Law School and have been friends for 20 years. Harper told Roland how he sees this year’s election.
Now … when I was at the Democratic National Convention, I talked to my fraternity brother, actor, author and activist Hill Harper. He’s also pretty close to Pres. Barack Obama. They were classmates at Harvard Law School and have been friends for 20 years. He told me how he sees this year’s election.
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MR. HILL HARPER: The way I look at this election is I always talk about – I say to people, “2008 was historic, but 2012 is personal.” We need to take this election very personal[ly]. We – when you have Sen. Mitch McConnell saying his number one – number one priority is to make sure he doesn’t have a second term, that’s like saying an executive in a company – he’s the CEO – saying, “My number one idea is to make sure that this person gets fired.”
You’re not a – you know, come on. Come on.
So, we need to take this election very personally. We need to explain it to each other – not rely on the President or the First Lady to explain. We need to make it plain to everyone – make sure everyone’s registered, make sure everybody votes.
MR. MARTIN: One of the things I talk about is that enthusiasm gap, and we actually – we’re seeing that.
MR. HARPER: Yes.
MR. MARTIN: I also see it in the entertainment community. At this point four years ago, huge response.
MR. HARPER: Yes.
MR. MARTIN: This year, not so much.
MR. HARPER: Okay – but we gotta – we – we have to parse the difference. The difference is this. You had a long primary run-up where he had to win the Democratic nomination at this event, in 2008. Right? All the way up. So, it’s a – a long time to – to ramp up and get people fired up and ready to go. This is much shorter. He’s still running the country. He hasn’t been able to go around for month after month after month after month, getting people fired up in barbershops and beauty salons.
That’s why we have to do that.
MR. MARTIN: Last question. I[’ve] got about 15 seconds.
MR. HARPER: Okay.
MR. MARTIN: Somebody’s saying, “Look. I voted for him in ’08. Look. I really don’t fee- — see hope or change. I’m not quite sure.” Ten seconds, 15 seconds – what do you tell them to get them over the hump?
MR. HARPER: Well, I – I speak personally. I – I’ve known him for over 20 years, and there’s nobody – I can tell you – and I know a lot of people – nobody I can – I know that I’d rather see [at] 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the next four years. He is the man for the job, and we need to make that happen. We’re the only people that can do that.
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MR. MARTIN: Man! He was sort of a little tired there, huh?
Naw, he was a little hyped.
All right, folks.
Hill Harper, we certainly appreciate it. Thanks a lot.