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CNN American Morning Transcript

Location: Unknown

March 16, 2004 Tuesday

HEADLINE: Ohio Police Name Suspect in Interstate Shootings; Spain Arrests More Moroccans in Connection to Train Bombings

GUESTS: Sam Brownback, Al Sharpton

BYLINE: Soledad O'Brien, Bill Hemmer, Jack Cafferty, Eric Phillips, Barbara Starr

Ohio Police Name Suspect in Interstate Shootings; Spain Arrests More Moroccans in Connection to Train Bombings


O'BRIEN: He is conceding the race and endorsing the party's presumptive nominee but the Reverend Al Sharpton's campaign for change continues and Reverend Sharpton joins us this morning to talk about the Bush-Kerry battle and also what role he hopes to play at the Democratic convention.

Nice to see you, sir, welcome.


O'BRIEN: You know the headlines said various things but one said you're giving Senator Kerry a partial endorsement. What the heck does that mean?

SHARPTON: Well I don't know, I didn't write the headline. What I said is that Senator Kerry has won the nomination, he has gotten more than the 2100 votes required.

So rather than continue debating who the nominee will be-we know that-and he's a good nominee and should defeat Bush if the race is he and Bush-now we need to see what is the nominee representing in terms of what will the Party stand for.

We have tried to say from the beginning of this race that we need to deal with an agenda that will deal with jobs and public schools and the state of health care.

And the state of policing in this country. So my campaign shifts into trying to make sure that we have delegates and we have those kinds of arguments and debates that were at the convention this year.

I think it's futile to continue to say who the nominee should be when he's already been selected.

O'BRIEN: Why continue your campaign, though? Because you made it very clear and your press people followed up by saying he has-the Reverend has not dropped out of this race. You are continuing your candidacy.

SHARPTON: Because I think-no-I think it is important that we understand-the people vote for me today in Illinois-we have delegates to go into the convention to go to the platform committee and raise the issues. The right to vote. We still have in 2007 to again come up with reaffirming the right to vote in terms of against race-against discrimination of voters.

So there are a lot of issues that have not been resolved. We can all say John Kerry is a much better president-will be-than Mr. Bush, but we have not all resolved what the Democratic Party will stand for, who it will stand for and why it stands.

O'BRIEN: And that was part of your meeting yesterday with Senator Kerry. Exactly what did you talk about and were you satisfied after you met with him?

SHARPTON: We talked about the fact, I think, that he needs to deal with an urban agenda.

Ed Lewis of "Essence" magazine and others are going to be meeting various ministerial groups. I told him that we must not have a Party that marginalizes anyone. We need to deal with everyone from the constituency of Howard Dean to mine-across the board.

We first of all can't win without that, but second of all we must stand for people that are suffering. In New York City where we sit this morning almost 50 percent of black men are unemployed.

If I wasn't in this race, people would not be talking about that constituent. We need a jobs creation program. And it was a very fruitful meeting; he appeared to understand it and want to continue to go forward and I intend to keep those issues front and center throughout the rest of this campaign and to the convention.

O'BRIEN: What do you think your exact role will be at the convention?

SHARPTON: I'm not looking for a role; I'm looking to see where the party is going. I mean, I'm going to go back and head -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) network. I had radio shows I was doing. I've been offered other things.

I will be very busy trying to argue to the American public on various forums. I'm not looking for a role; I'm looking to see the Party play a role in trying to make sure this country moves forward.

O'BRIEN: You mentioned you've been offered other things. I read you got an agent, William Morris?

SHARPTON: Well, William Morris always was my agent with my last book. I mean, I'm not going into entertainment. Whatever I do will be serious, it will be message oriented.

I think that we can't conceded the Bill O'Reilly's and the Rush Limbaugh's the airwaves of this country. I intend to argue on the other side.

O'BRIEN: All right, Reverend Al Sharpton. Nice to see you, thanks for being with us this morning.

SHARPTON: God bless you. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Thank you very much-Bill.

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

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