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Public Statements

CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees Transcript

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February 23, 2004 Monday

HEADLINE: Haiti Unrest: Marines Arrive; Key Witness Backs Martha Stewart's Story

GUESTS: Jeremy Hinzman, Jeff House, Al Sharpton, Carolina Buia

BYLINE: Anderson Cooper, Lucia Newman, Deborah Feyerick, Kelly Wallace, John King, David Ensor, Mike Chinoy, Carlos Watson, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, Jason Carroll, Jeanne Moos

HIGHLIGHT:
Fifty U.S. Marines arrive in Haiti to help protect American embassy. Then, a key witness backs Martha Stewart's story, but no decision yet from the judge on dismissing charges. Finally, President Bush on the offensive.

BODY:

COOPER: I think we'll be hearing a lot about that in the coming months.

Washington now. Halliburton faces criminal probe. The Pentagon said today its criminal investigators are examining allegations of fraud against the energy giant Kellogg Brown, and Root subsidiary. Investigation includes questions about potential overpricing of fuel delivered to Iraq.

Also in Washington, 8 billion spent and not much to show for it. Frankly, the army announced today the cancellation of the Comanche helicopter program and the write-off of its $8 billion cost. The project was in the works for 21 years. For its money, the army got two prototypes.

Also in Washington, the FBI goes public, asking for assistance from the public. The FBI has posted images of a letter sent to the White House that contained the poison ricin. The FBI also made public some of the contents of a second threatening letter. The Bureau is offering a $100,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.

Still in Washington, the Supreme Court sides with the government. The justices gave the federal government power to pursue certain terrorism cases in near total secrecy when they refused to hear the case of an Algerian man who was detained shortly after 9/11. The man wanted access to sealed records. The justices refused to intervene in the case. That's a quick look at tonight's "Reset."

Ralph Nader's decision to run for president is being blasted by Democrats who, rightly or wrongly, blame him for costing them the election four years ago. So will he play spoiler again? I asked presidential candidate Reverend Al Sharpton if he thinks Nader is that big a threat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that if he takes two votes, it could be two votes we need to defeat George Bush. One has to ask what is the motive when one decides to run for president is one of two reasons. Either to win or bring national focus on a set of issues or both. In my case, it's both. When Nader ran in 2000, many of us felt he had that he had a right to bring issues out that were not being discussed by the Democratic party when they felt the Democratic party moved too far to the right and become like the Republicans.

But in 2004, you have candidates on the stage debating those issues. We're having delegates being elected. We're going to the convention. We're going to fight these issues. No one knows what the party will represent. So what is his motive now? It couldn't be the issues, the issues are being discussed. What is Nader saying that I'm not saying in the primaries or in the debates or Dennis Kucinich is not saying? What is the point? Is it ego or is it so bitter that you don't mind being used by the Bush forces.

COOPER: But he has as much a right to run as you have to run.

SHARPTON: Absolutely. No one is questioning his right, no one is going to court to stop him. But I have the right to go to the American public saying this is not about issues this time. But I would hope he's bigger than that. The legacy of Ralph Nader as a great consumer advocate is now blemished if he goes out as one that helped in any way, shape, or form George Bush toward reelection. Clearly the record shows his running last time hurt. But I don't know if that was his intent. But it certainly would mean that he would be blind if he went again knowing the impact and effect he potentially could have.

COOPER: You were quoted as saying, "this is either an ego trip or some benign way of helping the Republicans." Do you really think Ralph Nader wants to help Republicans?

SHARPTON: I think that Ralph Nader cannot be blind to the fact that the end result would help the Republicans.

COOPER: You say his entering the race may just be ego. I mean, he did win more than two million votes in the popular vote in 2000, which, with all due respect, is more votes than you've ever gotten. Why should you be in the race and he not?

SHARPTON: First of all, no one knows how many votes I'm going to end up with. We've already got almost 100,000 votes and we have three-quarters of the primary to go. Secondly, I'm not running in a way that will hurt the Democrats because I've said if I'm not successful I will support the nominee.

COOPER: Do you think Nader gets it this time around? Do you think he gets a sense of how difficult it's really going will be? It seems like, you were saying you gave him a platform last time. You won't this time. You're going to go out speaking against him. He seems to be-a lot of the people who did support him no longer seem to be supporting him. Is he just out of touch?

SHARPTON: I don't know. I was surprised he announced he was running. I hope he reconsiders it. I hope he does hear from a lot of people that maybe my case didn't support him but at least gave him the benefit of the doubt. I think all of us have serious disagreements. I have serious debate disagreements with Kerry and Edwards but not so much that I want to do anything to help Bush win. In fact, I hope to bring in new people to the election, which we're doing in these primaries, that will help to defeat Bush, whether I'm the nominee or not. I would hope that Mr. Nader has the same spirit.

COOPER: You will stay in the race all the way through the conventions?

SHARPTON: Particularly with the Nader threat, it is better for the party and everyone else that I stay in.

COOPER: So you've found another reason to stay in?

SHARPTON: I don't need the Nader reason. But I think it is an additional reason. The party cannot silence voices and then not give credence to someone like Nader. The fact that this party has respected other voices and we're in the debates and we're winning delegates means one can legitimately say to Mr. Nader, what is your point?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

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