CNN News from CNN Transcript

By:  Alfred Sharpton, Jr.
Date: March 2, 2004
Location: New York, NY

March 2, 2004 Tuesday

HEADLINE: Holy Day Attacks in Iraq; Ten States Holding Votes Today; Interview With Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich

GUESTS: Terry Holt, Ed Turlington, Gregory Meeks, Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich

BYLINE: Donna Brazile, Carlos Watson, Judy Woodruff, Jane Arraf, Bob Franken, Lucia Newman, Chris Huntington

Deadliest day in Iraq since end of major combat.; The biggest day of the primary season is finally here.; Guy Phillipe says he's in charge in Haiti.; Former WorldCom chief financial officer Scott Sullivan has now pleaded guilty to charges related to the collapse of WorldCom.; Interview with Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich.


WOODRUFF: Here we are. It's Super Tuesday, and the chief story line surrounds the top two Democrats, senators Kerry and Edwards. But an interesting subplot is playing out in New York, the home of Al Sharpton. He remains in the race, even though he is far behind Kerry and Edwards. But he's ahead of Dennis Kucinich.

Reverend Sharpton joins us live from our bureau in New York City.

Reverend Sharpton, what do you expect is going to happen tonight?

REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I feel we will pick up delegates in various states. I also feel that we will again show that when these primaries go particularly in urban centers that we have real strength and the front-runner seems not to run as far ahead.

I mean, if you look at the vote, Judy, in Detroit and Washington, D.C., in two wards there we beat the front-runner, Mr. Kerry, in a 2-1 margin. In Detroit, we equaled him, just about. And I think that what we're seeing now is that the campaign is going into other areas than the first 25 percent.

We've only had 25 percent of the primary. Today we'll start the last 75 percent. So the media is trying to act like this is a 10- round fight that's over the second round.

It is not over. We have a long way to go. And we intend to be there.

WOODRUFF: Well, what shape are you going to end up in your home state of New York? How well are you going to do in New York?

SHARPTON: I think we'll do very well. You know, pollsters are one thing. The voters are coming out as we speak.

You know, I think the misconception in the media is that this has already been decided. Mr. Edwards, who you call a front-runner, has only won one primary and has come in fourth in seven primaries. I think that, clearly, we're trying to create a scenario that's not there. And I think the voters will straighten it out as we proceed.

WOODRUFF: Let me quote to you something, Reverend Sharpton, from The New York Times this week. An article analyzing your campaign, especially your campaign in your home state of New York.

It says it sees it that your effort is "somewhat lackluster, with little in the way of money, organization." And to hear many political scientists in New York say it, lacking intensity from either the candidate or from the public when they see him.

SHARPTON: Well, I think, again, they'd have to explain why we did so well in Detroit, why we did well in D.C. And they would have to explain the results of New York, Atlanta and other places tomorrow.

I'm not going to waste time that we should be talking about crumbling schools and health care and the problems by answering pundits who have a New spin tomorrow, when the vote goes a different way. The fact of the matter is that many people that claimed were going to do very well are out of this race.

I got double Howard Dean's vote in South Carolina, where many of those same politicians were endorsing him and saying don't vote for me in South Carolina. So again, that's inside of baseball. I understand your show's "INSIDE POLITICS." I'm dealing with outside grievances and concerns of the voters.

WOODRUFF: Well, actually, "INSIDE POLITICS" comes in a later today. I'm actually filling in for Wolf Blitzer...

SHARPTON: And so does the vote. The vote also comes later.

WOODRUFF: That's true. Some of it's being cast; we don't know the results. But your point is correct, Reverend, that those are important issues. But unless one can run an effective campaign, one is not in a position to do something about those issues.

And I want to quote a political consultant in New York, a former deputy mayor who said, "I don't see Al Sharpton has raised the money he could. He hasn't built the kind of campaign infrastructure he should have." More than that, he said, "I was hoping Al would nurture a whole New group of elected workers and campaign workers. I don't see that happening."

SHARPTON: Well, he's got his eyes closed. Because today, every young public official, black and Latino in the state, are running as Sharpton delegates. Adam Craig Powell (ph), an assemblyman, Kevin Parker (ph), a state Senator. The chair of the Democratic Party in the Bronx, Jose Rivera (ph), and his son.

The people he's looking for are not only in the campaign, they're running as Sharpton delegates. I think sometimes people are hired to put on shades and try to act like the sun is not there.

WOODRUFF: So when the analysis comes across from people who have watched your candidacy and the candidacy of others, and they say they don't see the passion there that they expected to be there, what do you say?

SHARPTON: First of all, what passion? I think that, again, let's look at the fact that in any inner city contest how we've done well. How did we get the vote in Detroit that just about equaled John Kerry? How did we get the vote in Washington, D.C.? Both places, by the way, in Detroit and D.C., Edwards didn't even show up on the radar.

So I think that it is really people who may not have an objective view that, of course, they have the right to say what they want to say, but they ought not confuse the voters. Voters have said to me they want to see delegates that stand on an urban agenda, that stand for health care, that stand for public schools.

I'm the only one running now other than Kucinich that was question this war. Edwards and Kerry voted for the war. They voted for the Patriot Act.

This is about issues. This is not about pundits. If pundits had it their way, they would have a coronation.

What we need is a convention. The only way the Democrats win is if we have a primary where everyone is included.

WOODRUFF: One other question, Reverend Sharpton. The Wall Street Journal reporting today that the manufacturing sector of the United States is looking like-saying that it is starting to hire again after more than three years of declines in factory jobs. If these jobs do start to come back on stream, doesn't that undercut the argument that you and other Democrats have made about the President and the loss of jobs in this country?

SHARPTON: It's according to how many come how quickly. But it is also according to whether or not the trade agreements that Kerry and other supported are, in effect, costing jobs.

That's why every Democrat that won, whether it was Bill Clinton, whether it was Jimmy Carter, whether it was John Kennedy in '60, came out of primaries, where everyone was involved, everyone contributed. You don't have coronations and lead it to victory. In history, the Democrats always won after having primary that defined who they were and energized their constituents.

WOODRUFF: Reverend Al Sharpton, it's always a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Nice to talk to you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We thank you for joining us.

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

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