February 16, 2004 Monday
HEADLINE: Interview With Bill Rausch, Boyfriend of Missing New Hampshire Woman
GUESTS: Bill Rausch; Al Sharpton
BYLINE: Greta Van Susteren
VAN SUSTEREN: Last night, Reverend Al Sharpton participated in the latest presidential debate, and he made a second-place showing in this weekend's Washington, D.C., Democratic caucuses, and he joins us tonight, Reverend Al Sharpton from New York.
REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How are you doing, Greta?
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Reverend, what's the plan?
SHARPTON: Well, the plan now is, now that we're going into areas that we are strong, New York, California, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut, Super Tuesday, we will escalate the picking up of delegates.
I think we showed in Detroit and in D.C. over the weekend that the urban vote is a strong vote for us. We were able in two areas of D.C. to beat Kerry almost two to one.
So, finally, the primary season is headed toward a home ground for me, and I think that we're going to really pick up a lot of steam and make this an interesting race.
VAN SUSTEREN: Reverend, let me talk to you about Michigan a little bit. You finished fourth in Michigan, at least according to my notes. You failed to carry two heavily African-American Detroit districts, that those went to John Kerry.
Now first of all...
SHARPTON: That's incorrect.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's incorrect?
SHARPTON: We won those districts in on-the-day voting. He edged ahead of us when they added in the Internet vote, which is something that we've been arguing with. On the on-the-day voting, we were ahead by a couple of thousand votes, and even with the Internet vote, he only was up a couple of percentage points, and you must remember that's with all the unions and local officials endorsing against us, and we picked up seven delegates there that day.
VAN SUSTEREN: Reverend, what's your plan? I mean the first plan is I know you want to go on to win the nomination, but, assuming you don't win that, what is Plan B? Do you plan to go to the convention, take your delegates? Do you want to participate in the convention? Can you mobilize the African-American vote for whoever the nominee is?
SHARPTON: Oh, I think that clearly the plan is if we don't win the nomination to mobilize and have enough delegate strength that we can affect everything from the platform to being involved in the selection process of vice president, to dealing with how the campaign will run.
Clearly, if Mr. Kerry has problems in urban centers, he's going to need people that can mobilize because the ultimate goal of defeating Bush has to be where everybody does what they can do, and I think no one will argue that we need to have maximum votes from every community. The only way you're going to do that is you're going to have to have maximum participation.
And that's what we're doing. That's why we decided to go in the primaries, so that if we could not succeed as the nominee, we could certainly succeed in influencing the nominee, which is why a lot of people said in D.C. over the weekend, I want to him in the convention so I know my voice will be heard and I will not be taken for granted as we pursue the defeat of George Bush.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Do you have sort of a favorite issue that you'd like to leverage or influence in terms of whoever the nominee is at the convention? Do you have one particular burning issue that you want to get the Democratic Party to look at it?
SHARPTON: Job creation. Job creation. I think that creation of jobs and all that goes with it, including rescinding NAFTA and these trade agreements and dealing with affirmative action in the job market, the job creation, big picture, is the thing that I would be-very, very, very much have as a priority in Boston.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any sort of preference in term of the vice presidential nominee of your party? I mean is that something you'd be willing to leverage your influence to have some sort of voice in?
SHARPTON: We're going to form a commission that I'll probably announce shortly that will be headed and done by people that we trust that will be making recommendations.
But, again, I remember in Los Angeles in 2000 when Al Gore chose Joe Lieberman, a lot of officials, particularly black officials, felt they had not been consulted. We need to have the leverage to make sure that is not done this time.
"The New York Times" had an article Saturday talking about likely people on the list, not one black on the list. You must...
VAN SUSTEREN: Who would you put on that list? Who would you like to see on that list?
SHARPTON: Well, I think there are a lot of people. I think that those that are (UNINTELLIGIBLE), including Bill Richardson.
But I don't understand how you don't consider somebody like Maxine Waters. I don't see how you don't consider people around the country that have served long and hard and have national currency. They're not even listed.
And I think that that is part of what you use leverage for. We cannot have a party where we're expected to be participants in getting out the vote but not participants in sharing the power and sharing the ticket.
VAN SUSTEREN: And in the 20 seconds-my favorite line-I have left, what's your relationship with John Kerry like?
SHARPTON: We're cordial. I mean we're running against each other, but we've been very cordial. He's, to me, a fine person, and I think that he'd make a good candidate. I don't think he'd be as well as I would, but, if he won the nomination, I would think he'd be open for discussion, and, hopefully, those discussions would lead to all of us doing what is necessary to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Thank you, Reverend. Nice to see you, sir.
SHARPTON: Thank you, Greta.
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