Eric Holder: U.S. Still 'Afraid' of Race

ABC News' Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas speaks with Attorney General Eric Holder on the "racial component" GOP resistance to President Obama.
5:07 | 07/13/14

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Transcript for Eric Holder: U.S. Still 'Afraid' of Race
You've talked about the fact that you and president. Are sometimes treated differently those were your words. What did you mean. Well I you know there is a certain level of vehemence that seems to me it's directed me directed at the -- the president. You know. People -- taking their their country back. The it. I can't look into people's hearts -- and people's minds. But it seems to me that this president has been treated differently than than others. Al Sharpton when you gave that speaks. Said he thought it was about race those were his words are -- yours. There are certain there's a certain racial component to this for some people I don't think this is the thing -- -- There is -- this a racial animus some Republicans. Would say to the president to you. -- -- -- -- Raising the race issue and regard to how the administration functions. Do they have a point. No I mean what I just said was that -- is only I think the driver for for some people you know there -- a lot of ideological. Look -- a ideology that drives. This this criticism you know it is -- -- -- mean that for whatever reason Republicans decided early on that this was a president they would simply not -- -- -- And over the past five and a half years we have seen demonstrations of that with the president has reached out his hand offered compromises that have. Simply not been met -- as they have been in the past by. A Republican Party willing to do the appropriate things -- -- to the Republican Party except faction. Of the Republican Party unity -- for the business the affection of the House Republican Caucus that has simply said we're not gonna cooperate with with president. I want to get the voting rights Republicans say. Over and over that this is about rooting out fraud I think we first have to understand that this notion that there is widespread in person voter fraud is simply belied by the facts there's just no. No proof that -- that happening. To any significant degree. I think these are these are basically political efforts to try to make sure. That. Certain groups that are not supported those in power. It's made more difficult for them to have access to the ballot and you look at. The way in which these these voter -- efforts for instance who was disproportionately impacted by the young people African Americans Hispanics them -- older people. People who. For whatever reason -- -- necessarily supportive. The of the Republican Party do you expect take action in the coming weeks to to deal with some of these issues. We -- filed suit in Texas and in North Carolina. I expect that we're going to be filing and cases that are already eggs in existence in Wisconsin. As well as in Ohio we are fifty years away from feed -- some. Fifty years away from the death of three. Brave civil rights workers. You're away from fifty. I'm attorney general of the United States I will not stand for -- not allow people to take away. That was people gave their lives to give and that is the ability for the American people to vote. It's the most basic of all of our rights its most treasured couple of our rights and -- every ability that I had to be -- that I have. As attorney general to defend their right to vote. Looking at race. Donald -- comments about black people. That controversial. A rancher out in Texas saying that African Americans might be better off as slaves. Were do you think we are. In terms of race relations and obviously we have an African American president progress look at you and I were sitting here in London doing this unity. Where do you think we are realistically and in -- -- race. Well I think -- -- fundamentally better place than we were fifteen years ago we've made lots of progress. I sit here is the first African American attorney general serving the first African American. President of the United States and that has to -- that we have made a great deal of progress. But there's still more -- we have to travel along this road so we get to the place that. It's consistent with our founding ideals and I'm very optimistic. That this country will will get there. You know it happens in fits and starts and they're going to be incidents that we're gonna have to deal with. We should learn from those instance or how we talked to one another learn how we come up with policies that will make America. The nation that it is capable of being but I think -- happen. You used a phrase -- -- -- various -- -- shifted somewhat since beginning of the administration. No I wouldn't -- walk away from that speech I think we are still a nation that is too afraid to confront. Racial issues you know we -- the sterling -- you have what. Then that -- said. Vols are opportunities for us to engage with one another across the the color line and talk about racial issues and we too infrequently do that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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