CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees Transcript

By:  Alfred Sharpton, Jr.
Date: Jan. 23, 2004
Location: Unknown

January 23, 2004 Friday

HEADLINE: David Kay Steps Down; Following the Democratic Campaigns

GUESTS: Al Sharpton, Vikram Jayanti

BYLINE: Anderson Cooper, Jamie McIntyre, Jeanne Meserve, Candy Crowley, Dan Lothian, Gary Tuchman, Miles O'Brien, Matthew Chance, Angela Ahn, Jason Carroll

David Kay steps down and says there are no weapons of mass destruction. Then, interview with Al Sharpton. Finally, Mars Spirit rover began sending signals back to Earth after two worrying days in the dark.

COOPER: All right. Dan Lothian, thanks very much.

Now Reverend Al Sharpton not exactly a contender in New Hampshire, but I spoke to him earlier today about last night's debate and about a lot of other things. I started by asking him about the tone of last night's debate.


AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that the tone didn't surprise me, because the only way it would have gotten combative is if Dean made it combative. And-because there was no reason for Kerry to be combative; there certainly was no reason for Edwards to be combative. And by Dean having to respond to his own performance in the concession speech, he wanted to do the opposite of being combative. So I wasn't surprised at all.

The irony of this, when I started hearing Dean plead to Chairman McAuliffe and others, why don't you tell the guys to stop taking shots at me, he was the guy that usually was on the attack. In the early debates, Dean would come in almost like a pit bull. And then when he became front-runner and everybody started going after him, he started calling for mercy. It was always a strange irony to me.

COOPER: I want to ask you about what you said to him last night.

SHARPTON: I wanted to say to Governor Dean, don't be hard on yourself about hootin' and hollering. If I spent the money you did and only got 18 percent, I'd still be hollering in Iowa.

COOPER: It's interesting, because some people on my staff interpreted that as you kind of giving him a break, saying all right, it's no problem, let's move on. I saw it and I thought, you know what, you're smiling there, but you're also kind of twisting the knife a little bit.

SHARPTON: Well, I don't know. I didn't mean to do it as twisting the knife. I can see your point of view. But I did want to say, come on, let's move on, let's not talk about this all night.

DEAN: We will not give up in Arizona or New Mexico.

COOPER: I got to ask you, were you watching that speech Howard Dean gave in Iowa Monday night? And if so, what were you thinking?

SHARPTON: You know, I saw a repeat, and I honestly thought it was a spoof somebody was doing. It took like two or three re- broadcasts for me to honestly believe that that was Dean.

COOPER: Were you surprised at Dean's third-place finish?

SHARPTON: I was. I was.

COOPER: So you bought into the media hype yourself?

SHARPTON: I'm going to stop listening to you guys.



COOPER: We're going to have more from Reverend Al Sharpton later on in the program, find out how long he'll stay in the race and who he thinks might drop out next. I'm going to give you a little bit of a hint-it's not him.

Right now we're following a number of developing stories "Cross Country." Let's take a look.


Back to the political battle going on right now in New Hampshire. The latest CNN poll shows John Kerry leading Howard Dean by 12 points, Al Sharpton trailing. I spoke to him today about the fight he's in and asked him how long he'll stay in.


AL SHARPTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well first of all, we're confident that we're going to be picking up delegates every state. The polls have always underestimated candidates like me. For example, in the primary we just had in Washington, D.C., they said that Dean would beat me four to one. He had to etch out an 8 percent victory and I beat him 3 to 1 in the black ward.

COOPER: If the point is for the Democrats to get rid of George Bush out of the White House, isn't it sort of bad for the party for you to just stay in the race? The debates are not particularly effective.

SHARPTON: No, not at all. In fact, the only way the party is going rid of George Bush is the party must expand. For example how, did we get Bush in the first place? Because I think that we did not maximize turnout. We did not protect our vote in Florida.

Bush didn't come out of outer space. Bush came out of, in my judgment, mistakes the Democratic party made, party mistakes I want to correct. We had the White House for eight years. There's no reason we should have lost it. I think we must be real about that.

Secondly, there are people that will vote for me that would not necessarily vote for other candidates. If I pull out, it's not going to energize those voters to come out. It's going to energize maybe other voters. It will not energize the base that we need. And we're going to need all voters to beat Bush. You can't beat him if all you come back to the table with is what he beat you with last time.

COOPER: People calling the sort of the kinder gentler debate last night. The kindler gentler Democrats right now, everyone sort of dealing with kid gloves, how long can that last?

SHARPTON: I'm sure we'll have some kind of give and take before it's over, maybe as early as South Carolina this week, because a lot of us disagree. I disagree with John Edwards on the PATRIOT act. I think the PATRIOT Act is a terrible thing for civil liberties. I'm sure we'll talk about the war. The war costs jobs in South Carolina and Missouri and Delaware.

I disagree with Dean on the appointment of judges. One of the things that we never got to is the appointment of conservative judges in Vermont. And what kind of judges would you appoint to the Supreme Court? So, I'm sure there will be some give and take before it over. I think last night, people were trying to get over Iowa, get over the holler screaming thing and make whatever points they had to make before New Hampshire.

COOPER: Let's talk about South Carolina. It's the Tuesday after New Hampshire, you spend a fair amount of time down there. How important for you personally, is it to do well out there. I ask the question, because a large African-American population. A lot of them come out to vote. Jesse Jackson won there in 1984 and 1988, he won as well. How important is it?

SHARPTON: It's an important state for all of us. I think that it's the first primary there. It's a difference in the primary and caucuses that Reverend Jackson ran. It's not a caucus, it's a primary and Reverend Jackson was from South Carolina. I lived there, but I was not born and raised there.

It's important for Clark. It's important for Edwards, because they are southern candidates. So it's important for a lot of us. But it's important for me because it clearly represents more of the demographics are of the Democratic party and I think we all will have to sell ourselves to more of what the party looks like. That's why I wish all of them had been in Washington, because that looked more like the party and more like America than Iowa or New Hampshire does.

COOPER: Who do you think is going to drop out next?

SHARPTON: I have no idea. I mean, I think Lieberman's got to show something in New Hampshire. And I think that he's probably the one I would watch more than anything Tuesday night.

COOPER: All right. Reverend Al Sharpton, thank you very much?

SHARPTON: All right, thank you.

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

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