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Public Statements

CNN Larry King Live Transcript

By:
Date:
Location: Columbia, SC


January 28, 2004 Wednesday 12:00 AM Eastern Time

HEADLINE: Analysis of New Hampshire Primary Results

GUESTS: David Gergen, Mo Rocca, Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, Joseph Lieberman

BYLINE: Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, Bill Schneider

HIGHLIGHT: Analysis of New Hampshire primary results.

BODY:
ANNOUNCER: CNN, America's campaign headquarters.

KING: Our panel of Gergen, Schneider and Blitzer will return at the bottom of the hour, along with Mr. Moe Rocca. But in this segment, we're going to talk with Reverend Al Sharpton, the candidate for the presidential nomination. He's on deck in South Carolina, where he is expected to run very strong next Tuesday.

What's your analysis of New Hampshire, Al?

REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it was very interesting. I congratulate Mr. Kerry. I think that as we move south now, the demographics will change. I think that we will see a much more diverse voting population, and I think we'll see different results. I'm excited about South Carolina. I'm excited about Missouri. I'll be there all day tomorrow. I think Delaware-I think as we go into this, we're going to now get into the thick of the primary season, and the people will be speaking, and we'll see where it goes.

KING: Are you in it to win, are you in it to make a statement? What's driving Al Sharpton?

SHARPTON: Oh, I'm in it to win, but I want to win making a statement. The statement is clear that we need to really stop being Republicans in a Democratic party. We need to stop this elephant running around with donkey clothes.

What are the problems? The economy. We don't have job creation programs. In South Carolina, we lost 75,000 jobs, many with trade agreements Democrats supported. We're not supporting public education. We certainly are not trying to guarantee health care. And many that are running voted with the president on the war. So the issues are critical.

I don't think you can win without making a statement. I'm running to win, but I'm not running to win to sacrifice standing for something. I'm going to win because I stand for something, and I think people want to go with somebody that will stand up for what they need.

KING: Are you aiming also, Al-with South Carolina, half the people voting will be African American-to sort of create a stir in the party?

SHARPTON: Well, no. I think that the fact is that many blacks that are voting in South Carolina and around the country have the same kinds of desires that many whites will have. I didn't campaign in New Hampshire and got several hundred votes tonight. A lot of people are saying that we want to see this party stand up for what this party always represented, and that's black and white.

And there still is the racial divide. Yes, in South Carolina, blacks are doubly unemployed to whites, so we need to fight for steelworkers in Georgetown, but we also need to make sure that those jobs that are created are created in a way that we don't reinforce an unequal standard.

So I think, yes, we have to deal with the issue of race, but I think in the new South, whites down here are prepared to deal with that, and I think that this is going to be a shock when we finish counting the votes next Tuesday night.

KING: How long do you stay in this? Do you have a strategy? Are you in it all the way?

SHARPTON: I think I should stay at least until I make my acceptance speech in Boston for the nomination.

KING: If you don't get the nomination, would you like to speak in Boston?

SHARPTON: Well, I think first of all, I wouldn't do all of this to make a speech. I think this is more about can we make sure the party deals with the needs of people. Many of us are outraged at the shift in the party to the right. Many of us felt the party did not fight to sustain our right to vote in Florida in 2000.

For example, tomorrow morning I will debut for the first time radio ads by attorney Johnnie Cochran. There will be many that have fought for justice. They will be on the airwaves, physically, coming into South Carolina, Missouri and others to campaign for Al Sharpton, because we want to see this party held accountable. We want to expand the party. We want to register, and we have registered, a lot of young people.

Russell Simmons, the hip-hop impresario, has done a radio ad that hit South Carolina supporting me. We've got to expand the party if we're going beat George Bush.

KING: Are you going to support the nominee, whether it's you or anyone else?

SHARPTON: Whoever the nominee is, I will support it. I hope the others will support me if I'm the nominee.

KING: Wolf Blitzer, do you have a question for Al Sharpton.

BLITZER: Sure, Larry. Thanks very much.

Reverend Sharpton, if you don't get the nomination, who among the other Democratic candidates do you think speaks best to the African American community? As you well know, about half the votes expected in the Democratic primary in South Carolina next Tuesday could come from the black community. Who do you like best among the other candidates?

SHARPTON: I mean, I respect all of the candidates. I don't know any of them have the background I have in terms of not being black, but in terms of fighting for causes of civil and human rights, that's a hard call. I probably, politically and philosophically, identify more with Dennis Kucinich than the rest, but I don't think any of them have a strong civil rights track record, though most of them have taken the proper positions when it came to causes in front of them as legislators.

KING: Thank you, Reverend Al Sharpton in Columbia, South Carolina. He mentioned Dennis Kucinich. We'll talk with Dennis next, and then our panel will be with us the rest of the way on this second edition of "LARRY KING LIVE."

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Content and programming Copyright 2004 Cable News Network Transcribed under license by FDCH e-Media, Inc.

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