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CNBC Capital Report Transcript

Location: Unknown

January 27, 2004 Tuesday

HEADLINE: Reverend Al Sharpton discusses his campaign


ALAN MURRAY, co-host:

One candidate, of course, who has chosen to look beyond New Hampshire and Iowa is Al Sharpton. He joins us now from one of those February 3rd big primary states, South Carolina.

Reverend Sharpton, thanks very much for being with us.

Reverend AL SHARPTON (Democratic Presidential Candidate): Thank you.

MURRAY: We've got these early results in from New Hampshire. Senator John Kerry is in the lead in that state. The people who went to the polls to vote for him think he is the most electable candidate in the field, the person who has the best chance of beating George W. Bush. What do you think about that?

Rev. SHARPTON: Well, I mean, I think that that was the expected outcome, and I think it probably will hold. I think, again, we have a long process. There are 22 delegates at stake in New Hampshire tonight. There will be over 4,000 delegates by the time we get to Boston. And I think all of us have a strategy to try to win delegates in states to reach the magic number of over 2,100 delegates. And I think if Mr. Kerry wins tonight, I congratulate him and we will move forward into the primary season. This is the first of many primaries.

MURRAY: But I gather you don't agree with the people of New Hampshire who think that John Kerry is the most electable in the Democratic field?

Rev. SHARPTON: Well, no, I do not. I think that what is going to have to happen to defeat George Bush is a movement. And I think that I am the candidate that can ignite that movement. I think we've got to be honest on how did we get Bush in the first place. And I think we did because many in the Democratic Party were themselves acting like Republicans. In many ways, I've been terming it as elephants running around with donkey jackets. We supported a lot of the deregulation of big business. We supported tax cuts. We supported things like the war in Iraq, and we supported trade agreements that cost jobs. I'm in South Carolina. Textile workers and steel workers lost their jobs because some of us in the Democratic Party didn't stand up and defend those jobs here at home. So I think that we've got to be honest that not only must we defeat Bush, we should have never had Bush in the first place.

MURRAY: Reverend Sharpton, John Edwards put in a strong performance in Iowa. Looks like he's putting in a reasonably strong performance in New Hampshire. He is in the top of the pack in the polls I've seen from South Carolina. Why should people in South Carolina vote for you and not John Edwards? What's your view of John Edwards?

Rev. SHARPTON: Well, I think he's a fine person. I respect him as a person. We just disagree on some issues, and I think you debate that out. That's what the primary process is all about. I disagreed with John Edwards on the war. He voted for it, I was the first candidate to come out against it. I disagree with him on the Patriot Act. He supported John Ashcroft's proposal. I think it is an affront to civil liberties and civil rights. So I think we debate these things out. However, I have no disagreement with any of the candidates more than I do George Bush. If I'm not successful, I will support them. But I think the primary is about people standing up saying, 'Wait a minute. I want to be heard. This is the candidate that is what I feel ought to be represented by the party' and then we see who has the majority and we go into the convention and that person becomes the nominee. So I'm going to debate the issues and we're going to see who wins.

MURRAY: All right. Thank you very much, Democratic presidential candidate Reverend Al Sharpton, who is not in New Hampshire. He's in Columbia, South Carolina. I gather it's not a lot warmer in South Carolina than it is in New Hampshire, so watch out for the ice and thanks for being with us tonight.

Rev. SHARPTON: Thank you. Thank you.

MURRAY: Coming up next on CAPITAL REPORT, Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert. And let's take another look at the very latest results coming in from New Hampshire. This is 8 percent of the vote in. Senator John Kerry in the lead with 37 percent of the vote. Howard Dean is second with 24 percent of the vote. And in that critical battle for third place, General Wesley Clark and John Edwards both have 13 percent. Looks like there are about two more votes for General Clark at this moment. We're going to bring you the latest votes as they come in, so stay with us on CAPITAL REPORT.

Copyright 2004 CNBC, Inc.

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