Sharpton Gets Sharp

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 14, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: All right. The controversy surrounding the DNC's decision to strip Florida and Michigan of its delegates continues to heat up. The two wayward states are being punished for moving up their primaries and now will not be represented at the Democratic convention.

The NAACP is urging the party to reinstate these delegates, but in a surprise twist, civil rights activist Al Sharpton sides against them and today released a scathing indictment of its chairman, Julian Bond.

Joining us now is founder of the National Action Network, Reverend Al Sharpton.

Reverend, welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." Julian Bond is saying those delegates should be counted; voters should not be disenfranchised. Is that not a good argument?

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Well, first of all, I talked to Julian Bond today, who said that he doesn't feel the states should be disenfranchised, that he and I are really on the same page, that he did not say these delegates should be seated.

I'm saying unequivocally the DNC cannot announce to the whole country they're not going to recognize these two states. They go forward with the primary vote anyway. People in both states chose, in many cases, not to vote.

Now you're going to come back and say, "We are going to recognize them," which means the people that didn't vote, and felt that they did not have a significance in this, have been disenfranchised. I think that's a violation of their voter rights.

COLMES: I think you've got a very good point there. And I don't want a win to be an ugly win for either candidate on the Democratic side, where there's some contention about whether or not the rules should have been obeyed.

What about the DNC, though, now saying that it will allow each state to hold a different contest, possibly a caucus? Is that a solution?

SHARPTON: Well, it may be. It's according to how they're doing it, and according to how it rolls out. But I think that my main concern is that you cannot tell voters one thing. They either vote or not vote based on that.

And in Michigan, you've got to remember, Alan, they didn't even have all the candidates' names on the ballot. And then come back and certify these people as winners when it was clearly an announced beauty contest. It meant nothing.

COLMES: Well, what's the solution then? Because you don't want disenfranchised voters. Mary Frances Berry, she's concerned about disenfranchised voters, as well. But if you don't have any ability for these people to vote on delegates or candidates, they are disenfranchised. So what do you do?

SHARPTON: No, I think the solution is they can come up with some remedy, like a caucus or like primaries. There are still primaries going on and caucuses going on the next two months or more. They can remedy it, but they put themselves in this position, the DNC.

The answer is not to seat the delegates that were selected in what they said would not be a delegate selection process.

COLMES: Why have you not come out for a candidate for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?

SHARPTON: Well, there's a classic reason. Because I said I wanted to be free to objectively talk about things like civil and voter rights. So if I was on here tonight as one who had edorsed either one, if I had endorsed Senator Obama, you'd be saying I'm doing this for Obama since Hillary won the beauty contest.

Clearly, I'm taking objective views. I think sometimes you have to take that position.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Reverend Al, we've got to go back to this issue. You even use the term it would be a grave injustice in this particular case. You've threatened that you are opening the door here, that — for litigation, would open the door for litigation and demonstration. And you said grave injustice. And that the — that you may, in fact, picket and form picket lines at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Are you still planning that?

SHARPTON: If, in fact — if the DNC says that they do not care what anyone says, they're going to seat this, we're not taking it off the table. You've got to remember what they in effect saying to the people of Michigan and the people of Florida, is that we openly mislead you. And the fact that you didn't use your vote is of no consequence.

HANNITY: But wait a minute.

SHARPTON: I would hope they don't take that position.

HANNITY: But if Alan says — and I know as this is being discussed here, if they move towards a caucus — "Wait a minute. They've moved the goal line. They've raised the bar." What about John Edwards, who would have liked to compete there?

Now, they all signed an agreement. For example, Barack Obama and John Edwards, their name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan.

SHARPTON: That's correct.

HANNITY: But Hillary claims victory. After Florida they'd agreed not to campaign in Florida. The delegates weren't going to be seated. Everybody knew of the rules going in.

SHARPTON: That's correct.

HANNITY: Hillary goes out the night that the Florida numbers came in, claims a big victory to try and create a perception here. Now there's talk she may even sue to get these delegates seated or have surrogates do that. Isn't that cheating? That's cheating, isn't it?

SHARPTON: Well, it's certainly changing the course in midstream. If they come up with a remedy, as I said. It's according to what it is that can address all this.

HANNITY: Is that fair to John Edwards? You even — you even said — you said, "This smacks of the same stuff we accused the Republicans of in Florida in 2000," changing the rules. If you have a caucus you've changed the rules late in the game. Why would you even accept that anyway?

SHARPTON: We do not know, as I said, without asking, what the caucus would look like or if John Edwards would come out and say it's fair or not fair. Are you asking me to agree or disagree with something? We don't know what it looks like?

HANNITY: But the point is, anything short of what it is and what they agreed to is a change in the rules, and it's obviously going to be done to benefit somebody. And — and John Edwards will absolutely be somebody that is — that is punished for it, because he doesn't get to compete.

SHARPTON: I think I'm the one that raised it that is unfair. And again, John Edwards will have to see, as I and everyone else, what it is they come with and determine at that point if he feels it's unfair. At this point, though, any change is wrong.

COLMES: Well, thank you very much, Reverend.

SHARPTON: That's correct.

COLMES: Thanks for coming on the program.

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