Rev. Al Sharpton

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, December 16, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right Al Gore is out. Is this guy in or at least more in? I'm talking about the Reverend Al Sharpton who joins us from Washington, D.C.

Reverend, good to have you.

REV. AL SHARPTON: Good afternoon, Neil.

CAVUTO: What do you make of this?

SHARPTON: Well, I think that really is the official end of the Clinton-Gore era. I think that now the real question is in the post Clinton-Gore time that we start today, what will be direction of Democratic Party? You know, there was a time that one would know what a Democrat stood for, basically, fighting for working and middle class people, basically standing for civil liberties and world peace. That party in the last dozen years have, in my judgment, lost its way. I think that what we will see now is a real battle for the direction and the soul of the party, with the official close of the Clinton-Gore years by Mr. Gore's announcement.

CAVUTO: Does this make you more likely to run for president yourself Reverend?

SHARPTON: Well, it does make it more likely. Clearly, Mr. Gore was the only one in the race other than myself, or that was thinking of entering the race other than myself, that took issue with President Bush's military engagement in Iraq. He was the only one talking about the threat to civil liberties with the so-called war on terrorism. Now, most of the people that have been, by the media, anyway, purported to be candidates, voted for Bush's military action, supported his war on terrorism. So in many ways, I feel that it intensifies a need for me to seek the nomination for those who I feel are the majority Democrats, that want to stand by the real principles of the party.

CAVUTO: So you are going to run.

SHARPTON: I have not decided finally. Clearly, we have to be sure the infrastructure and monies, and legalities there are. But in terms of a philosophical and a commitment to the kind of ideology I think the party must have from a standard bearer, this certainly intensifies that in terms of my weighing this.

CAVUTO: What do you think of Trent Lott situation? Do you think he should step down as majority leader?

SHARPTON: Unquestionably. I think Mr. Lott, what he said could not be the slip of a tongue. Here is a man that celebrated the fact that his state voted for a segregationist ticket and said that had that ticket won, we wouldn't have these problems now. I mean, that is no slip of the lip.  That is no misjudgment of words. That is a policy statement. That is historic analysis. Anyone in that state of mind, even if it was for two seconds, should not be sitting there deciding on when we are going to have confirmation hearings for judges and U.S. attorneys and the debate around affirmative action the supreme court is going to have, which could have ramifications in the United States Senate. I think if he really loves his party, if he really wants to see his party reach out as they claimed in their 2000 convention in Philly they wanted to do, he would appear almost noble to say that because I have expressed this, I shall step aside

CAVUTO: All right, quickly, Reverend, you know the experience of Jesse Jackson, he was more of a protest candidate, do you see yourself as being much more than that?

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, I don't think Jesse Jackson was a protest candidate. The Senate changed in '86 because of him.


SHARPTON: You got the first person of color to chair the party. No one else that ran got what Reverend Jackson got, including winner in '88.  That is not a protest candidate. If there is a protest candidate, Bill Clinton was protest candidate, protesting George Bush senior. Guess what? He won.

CAVUTO: All right, Al Sharpton, thank you very much, we'll have more.

SHARPTON: Thank you, Neil.

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