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Public Statements

Fox Hannity and Colmes Show Interview

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HEADLINE: Interview With Presidential Candidate the Reverend Al Sharpton
GUESTS: Al Sharpton
BYLINE: Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes

COLMES: Still to come tonight, a 14-year-old girl vanished from her bedroom in Michigan. Police say she may be with a convicted killer. The host of "America's Most Wanted," John Walsh, will join us with the latest. First, we're joined by presidential candidate, the Reverend Al Sharpton. Reverend, nice to see you with us.

REV. AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to see you, Alan.

COLMES: One of the things that President Bush said today -- and you're a reverend. He said today in the speech that he was a man of faith, that he prays daily, he prays for Americans, he prays for the children of Iraq, and that his faith guides him. You almost get the sense he's saying that God is telling him and directing him in a sense and his faith is telling him this is the right thing to do, to go into Iraq, to do something to liberate people, and, as a man of God, this is what he's saying.
You're a man of God. You're a reverend. Is he coming from a religious place when he says that and...

SHARPTON: Well, first, I don't think anyone that sits in the White House ought to in any way imply or infer that what they're doing is based on their personal religious convictions. I think that what we've got to deal with is the facts as we know them.

One: Is there imminent danger of Americans? Secondly: Is there any alternative to military action? If he's really concerned -- and he made a very sober and somber appearance tonight -- about human life, then he should not risk human life unnecessarily.

COLMES: But if he's saying that Saddam Hussein's already hurting human life, that people are being tortured in Iraq, that there's all kinds of weapons that could be used against Israel or against the United States, and he sincerely believes as a religious man that this is the moral thing to do, who are you to say, well, that's wrong?

SHARPTON: But, first of all, there are weapons in North Korea -- he addressed that in the same conference -- that he said he wanted to deal with diplomatically, and those same weapons can be used, sold, exchanged with enemies of this country.

So why do you have a different response to North Korea than you have to Iraq? I don't think that he made a convincing argument on the contradiction of his policies.

COLMES: Their thinking is, if we don't go into Iraq now, Iraq will become what North Korea is and have the nuclear capability North Korea now has, and, as a preemptive measure, now is the time to go and stop Iraq from becoming North Korea.

SHARPTON: So you're saying that, if someone is a worse villain, let's go at the least worst villain? The worst villain would appear to me to be more of a danger than the one that's least if that's their logic.

COLMES: What would you do? If you're president in charge, then what do you do?

SHARPTON: I would -- I would work with the U.N.. I would work with the Security Council. I would work with allies. And I would, at a very last resort, even talk about military action. I certainly would not be telling Americans let's get ready for war, I'll be warning reporters and families and others to get out of Iraq, but, at the same time, I'm going to engage in dialogue in North Korea.

HANNITY: Reverend Al -- Reverend Sharpton, it's always good to see you. It's your good friend, your favorite conservative, Sean Hannity. You get a double dose of me today. So...

SHARPTON: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: All right. I want to first -- before I get to the Iraq issue. I want you to comment -- Leon Panetta, who is Bill Clinton's former chief of staff -- White House chief of staff said you preach hate, he said -- and that others like you -- and that you're making the party look weak. He doesn't like your fiery brand of racial politics. He said it's a free country, everybody can enter the race, but this is a race that cannot be about hate, talking about you.

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, some say that the reporter said he was talking about me. But, if he was, I would...

HANNITY: He said it. He said it.

SHARPTON: Well, that's not the quotes I read. But let's say he said it, Sean. I would like for him to say where I've preached hate. I think that that is something that he and anyone else would be hard pressed to say.

In fact, I preach the opposite of hate. When I was victimized by hate, I preached reconciliation and forgiveness. So I think that, if he said that, he said something that is blatantly untrue. But, again, I don't know that that was his direct quote or not.

HANNITY: You know, I think one of the reasons the Democrats keep losing election after election -- a lot of us here in America -- we think you're a party that is weak on national defense. Now, recently, you had the opportunity to share a platform among Democratic Party faithfuls, yourself, Howard Dean, and Joe Lieberman.

Both you and Joe Lieberman are against the war. You got loud and thunderous applause. Joe Lieberman did not get quite the same applause when he said, if we are perceived as weak on national security issues, we'll never win an election. What are you going to do convince the American people -- you want to be president -- that you're going to be strong on national defense issues when you appear weak on Iraq?

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, I don't know that you appear weak on Iraq when you say that we have not built a case to people around the world, including allies of America, that we're in imminent danger. Even the president says that there's been this going back and forth for 12 years. Well, if for 12 years there has not been the attack, why are we saying there's an imminent attack now? Let's lay that out. Let's establish that. This is not just Democrats.

HANNITY: We already have.

SHARPTON: This is not just Democratic contenders. These are major allies of the United States that say we don't see it.

COLMES: We're going to -- we're going to take a quick break.

HANNITY: Well...

COLMES: We'll be back with more with Al Sharpton right after our little break here. Then, later, authorities have launched a nationwide manhunt for 14- year-old Michigan girl Lindsey Ryan. She disappeared from her bedroom last weekend. John Walsh will be here for an update on that case coming up on HANNITY & COLMES.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: As we continue on HANNITY & COLMES, I'm Sean Hannity reporting from Los Angeles tonight. Also coming up, our good friend, the host of "America's Most Wanted," John Walsh, will be with us. But, right now, we continue with the Reverend Al Sharpton.

All right. Reverend Al, look, you want to be president. You oppose the war with Iraq. You support the position of France and of Germany, which are, I don't think, looking out for our best interests. They want to give more -- the inspectors more time. What assurances, though, can you give this nation that the VX gas, the mustard gas, the nerve gas that we know Saddam has -- that he's not going to use it against innocent people or that he won't align with a terror organization and use them? Can you assure the American people if you're president that he wouldn't do that?

SHARPTON: I can assure the American people that, if we go to war, we know that we're going to lose lives, and what I'm not going to do is say that I'm going to speculate on Hussein, who, clearly, I do not defend as a leader or head of state for his actions.

But I cannot sit up here and say that I have any evidence, nor has Mr. Bush been able to show other heads of states evidence, that he's about to use any of that. If there is a war, Sean, we know lives will be lost. You're asking us to guess...

HANNITY: Well, you know something? We may ultimately save...

SHARPTON: ... the lives we save if we don't go to war.

HANNITY: We may save millions. We've given this man 12 years, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: And he has not done any of...

HANNITY: We've given 17 -- 17 resolutions...

SHARPTON: ... those things. Has he done any of those attacks in the 12 years?

HANNITY: ... and he -- and he still has these weapons of mass destruction...

SHARPTON: And they have not been used.

HANNITY: And you -- and you -- you're willing to take the risk...

SHARPTON: Why do we feel that he's going to use them in the next weeks?

HANNITY: You are willing to take the risk...

SHARPTON: What evidence...

HANNITY: ... that he's not going to use them, and you're going to...

SHARPTON: ... do you have...

HANNITY: You're going to pander...

SHARPTON: ... after 12 years he's going to use them now?

HANNITY: Do you have any evidence he's not going to use them?

SHARPTON: But I'm not calling for an action. You are. And I'm saying what is the basis of your...

HANNITY: The basis is we ended a war with this guy. He agreed to disarm. We gave him 12 years to do it and 17 U.N. resolutions to do it, and he won't do it. And, if doesn't disarm for the safety...

SHARPTON: None of those arms have been...

HANNITY: ... and security of the world and future generations...

SHARPTON: Why doesn't Mr. Bush go after bin Laden who has attacked America?

HANNITY: We are after him.

SHARPTON: Why aren't we dealing with...

HANNITY: We're right on his tail.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: ... North Korea? Why is there a different tragedy for Iraq based on -- I think...

HANNITY: We were at...

SHARPTON: ... they may...

HANNITY: Maybe you don't remember. We were at war with this guy. He invaded an innocent country. He used weapons of mass destruction in the past, and if he -- and this world has changed since September 11, Al. You were in New York.

SHARPTON: Abso -- which -- and who changed it? Mr. bin Laden who is still at large and...

HANNITY: And we got the third...

SHARPTON: ... and North Korea...

HANNITY: ... in charge this week.

SHARPTON: ... who can sell to enemies of America. What you're failing to do is explaining a contradictory foreign policy.

HANNITY: You're a -- let me ask a question of you. You're a proud liberal, right? If you're president of the...

SHARPTON: I'm a proud person.

HANNITY: You're a proud liberal.

SHARPTON: You labeled me liberal.

HANNITY: You are a liberal. Why don't you just admit it? You're a liberal?

SHARPTON: A liberal what? I am...

HANNITY: You're a...

SHARPTON: I am a...

HANNITY: Are you going to increase spending on defense?

COLMES: Reverend...

HANNITY: If you're -- wait. Let me get this question in.

SHARPTON: I want to conserve American freedoms...

HANNITY: Are you going to...

SHARPTON: ... against the Patriotic Act. I want to conserve American civil liberties.

HANNITY: You're not a conservative.

SHARPTON: I want to conserve Roe v. Wade.

HANNITY: You're not a conservative!

SHARPTON: I want to conserve...

COLMES: Reverend, here's -- here's what other Democrats are saying about you. Barney Frank says you brag about not paying taxes. If this came about any other candidate for president, that would be the end of the candidacy.

SHARPTON: If I had done that. I think I went to court and proved that they -- their charges were fruitless. I mean, again, if you want to get into an argument with guys, I could certainly bring up a whole lot about all of these guys. That is not what this race is all about.

COLMES: Well, you know the Democratic establishment has gone after you. Peter Beinart...

SHARPTON: Fine.

COLMES: ... of "The New Republic" called...

SHARPTON: He's a Democratic establishment...

COLMES: ... a charlatan.

SHARPTON: He calls me what?

COLMES: He calls you a charlatan, accuses you of racial...

SHARPTON: He's a writer that needs to get on talk shows.

COLMES: ... political extortion.

SHARPTON: You said Democratic establishment. You haven't named one yet.

COLMES: All right. Well -- you don't think Barney Frank represents the Democratic establishment?

SHARPTON: No. In our campaign, we have everyone from North Jersey Mayor Sharp James to Bill Lynch and others.

COLMES: All right.

SHARPTON: I mean, come on. Give me a break. The...

COLMES: But you know who endorsed you?

SHARPTON: ... writer...

COLMES: You know who endorsed you? Rush Limbaugh endorsed you...

SHARPTON: Well -- oh, well, I...

COLMES: ... and he says that you're being sliced and diced by Democrats. You want Rush Limbaugh's endorsement?

SHARPTON: No. I didn't ask for anyone like that in -- but I think you fail to bring up Democratic est...

You know, I think all of this bickering back and forth only shows how they are concerned, and they're finally being challenged by people they claim to have spoken on behalf of. We stood by this party through some very scandalous, unnerving times. When we had the audacity to stand up, they said, oh, my God.

COLMES: But aren't you running partially because the Democratic Party's in disarray? It's not winning elections. Sean's right. They're not winning anything. Aren't you...

SHARPTON: Well, first of all...

COLMES: ... running to shake it up and make a different...

SHARPTON: No, I'm running...

COLMES: ... Democratic Party?

SHARPTON: Well, I think Mr. Bush's policy is wrong, and I think that we need to take the country in a new direction, and I think it is almost laughable when people say are people like me going to bring the party down. Down? We don't control the White House, the Senate, the Congress, or the Supreme Court.

COLMES: No, but my point is...

SHARPTON: Where can I bring them but up?

COLMES: But that's what I'm saying. The Democratic Party is in disarray. It's...

SHARPTON: The guys that are talking are the ones that brought the party down. If I -- if they were smart, they'd be quiet so no one would notice that they're the ones that have not succeeded.

COLMES: Is America ready for a black president?

SHARPTON: Is America -- I think that America is more ready than people think for the kind of leadership that would deal with the economy, the unemployment, the big business deregulation, people that are going to talk to real issues.

COLMES: My question -- is color still an issue?

SHARPTON: Color is an issue, but I think most Americans can deal with it if we deal with the real issues. Most Americans, as I travel, don't understand how we can come up with $26 billion to offer Turkey, but we can't take care of prescription drugs for Grandma. Most Americans of...

COLMES: I understand.

SHARPTON: ... all colors are concerned about that.

COLMES: Some people are going to bring up some of the events you've been involved in.

SHARPTON: Fine.

COLMES: You've been called a race baiter.

SHARPTON: Fine.

COLMES: You've been called a racial extortionist. You...

SHARPTON: Everybody...

COLMES: ... know that's going to come up in the...

SHARPTON: ... running is going to have to face the names they call. I am prepared to do it. I come on your show as often as I can. We're answer all of that, and let's keep -- continue to deal...

COLMES: But my point is...

SHARPTON: ... with all of the issues out here.

COLMES: So how do you -- how do you cope with those charges? How do you cope when people say...

SHARPTON: If you...

COLMES: ... this is what this guy is, he's...

SHARPTON: And if you...

COLMES: ... an extortionist, he's a race baiter.

SHARPTON: But they have to establish -- extort who? Why don't you bring on the show somebody I extort? Why don't you bring on somebody that has said that all this happened? But these are a bunch of right-wing guys in newsrooms that are...

COLMES: When...

SHARPTON: ... trying to sell a talk show.

COLMES: Barney Frank -- Barney Frank's a right-wing guy?

SHARPTON: Well, tell...

HANNITY: All right. We've got to run.

SHARPTON: ... Mr. Frank -- Mr. Frank, I think, said...

HANNITY: Reverend Al...

SHARPTON: I don't even know what he said. Let him defend that, and I'm sure I defended Mr. Frank in his career.

HANNITY: We've got to run. Reverend Al...

SHARPTON: Oh, I'm so sad.

HANNITY: ... it's always a pleasure to see you.

SHARPTON: But good to see you, Sean.

HANNITY: Thank you for being with us.

(INTERRUPTED FOR BREAKING NEWS)

HANNITY: And coming up next, our good friend John Walsh. He's going to join us with the very latest information on the nationwide manhunt for this missing Michigan girl Lindsey Ryan. That's straight ahead.

Content and Programming Copyright 2003 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2003 FDCH e-Media (Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. -eMediaMillWorks, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.  
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