Rev. Al Sharpton Explains Why He's Getting Involved in the Sheehan Saga

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 26, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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JOHN GIBSON, GUEST HOST: In the "Personal Story segment" tonight, Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war protester known as the peace mom is now back in Crawford, Texas. And she will have a high profile visitor this weekend — the Reverend Al Sharpton.

But before he heads down to see Ms. Sheehan, he's making a stop right here in the no-spin zone. There he is.

So the president, she has called the president a lying pardon my impression, but it was her, bastard, a filth spewer, an evil maniac, curer, the world's biggest terrorist who's committing blatant genocide, waging a nuclear war. Are you going in to support her?

AL SHARPTON, ACTVIST: I'm going because I respect the fact that this is a woman who lost her son in a war that I opposed from the beginning, who I feel the president misled us saying that we were in imminent danger of weapons of mass destruction.

And she's had the moral courage to bring that fight, bring her pain to the doors of the president's home. And I think that it is appropriate. And I think that, of course in pain, this woman lost her child -- you say a lot of things.

GIBSON: Do you agree that Bush the world's biggest terrorist?

SHARPTON: First of all, I don't know what she said or didn't say.


SHARPTON: I agree that she should be heard by the president. And I agree with her. The war is wrong and should be stopped.

GIBSON: But should the president be impeached as Cindy Sheehan has asked? And conversely, how do you — You supported the war, didn't you?

SHARPTON: I have never supported the war.

GIBSON: You never supported the war. Do you believe he should be impeached as she asked?

SHARPTON: I believe that the president misled the American public. I believe there was flawed information.

GIBSON: But you're going down there...

SHARPTON: No, I'm going to all these things.

First of all, I'm going down with other clergymen to have a prayer vigil to support her and other families who lost members of their family for a war that was, in my judgment, should have never happened and should end. That's why I'm going.

Now I don't know all of the comments. I'm sure she doesn't know all my comments. But we are supporting her as encouragement. I'm joining other clergyman, because I think this is a moral issue that needs to be.

GIBSON: Look, you're out of the blocks a little earlier than this normally. It's — she's been down there for weeks. And you're only going now.

Isn't it true that the reason anti-war figures such as yourself and others, are attaching to her now is it looks like she's got a little momentum, where you can make this.

SHARPTON: Absolutely not. I'm going because they're having a prayer vigil and they've invited clergyin at this point. And I think that it is very important the last Sunday she's there that we show support.

And I think thousands of people show support if she goes on a bus tour around the country. This is not academic to her. She lost a son. It is not academic to other family members.

GIBSON: A lot of people have lost sons, too. And they don't support her. They disagree. And why should her voice be bigger than theirs?

SHARPTON: Well, the people that agree have a right to say they've been saying it. I think the president has given them a platform.

But why shouldn't she and others that feel differently about the pain they suffered, and the rationale behind that pain, be able to express themselves?

GIBSON: Do you support her contention that her son was killed for lies in a neo-con agenda to benefit Israel? -- That's a quote from her.

SHARPTON: I have no idea if that's a quote from her.

GIBSON: It is.

SHARPTON: I have no idea of that.

GIBSON: No, but I've got it. She said it on "Nightline" in a letter.

SHARPTON: What I have said is that I support her saying that we were misled. It cost the life of her son and others. And that I think that morally, this country ought to stand with her and other families and say this is wrong.

GIBSON: Do you agree that one of the reasons — this is her sentence — "one of the reasons that our greedy misled leaders invaded Iraq was for control of the oil fields."

SHARPTON: Again, I agree we were misled. I agree that the fort or the group that is there that has named this Camp Casey are corrected by the war. I agree the president who met with her when she thought she supported the war should be hearing now from the people that have lost more than me or he in terms of the life of their family member for a war that was.

GIBSON: Here was something else she said. She said "George Bush and his neo- conservatives killed my son. America's been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for."

SHARPTON: You know, I'm a minister. I — if I sat and quoted everything a mother said at a funeral or at a gravesite it would be irresponsible. This woman's pain clearly says a lot of things.

GIBSON: But my point is...

SHARPTON: She's right. The war was wrong.

GIBSON: The - well, that is her opinion. And other people don't.

SHARPTON: I agree with her.

GIBSON: Well, you may agree with her, but do you want to be lined up with somebody who said all these other things?

SHARPTON: I want to be lined up with a woman that said my son died for this country and this country shouldn't mislead them. I want to be lined up with a woman that said that...

GIBSON: That isn't what...

SHARPTON: ...the president should come and talk to those that suffered the most. I want to be lined up with a woman that showed the courage to do with some of my fellow Democrats didn't so. Stand up to this president.

GIBSON: Is this country worth dying for?

SHARPTON: This country is absolutely worth dying for, but it's not worth dying for when this country's being misinformed and misled. And this war was both.

GIBSON: Why would you go support somebody who said this country's not worth dying for?

SHARPTON: First of all, I don't know if she said -- you're asking me.

GIBSON: I'm telling you, she said it. I can give you the time.

SHARPTON: Well, you're reading a piece of paper. You can read a lot of statements.

GIBSON: I've got the time.

SHARPTON: ...I say that I didn't say. I know the basis of my support.

GIBSON: I haven't said anything you didn't say...

SHARPTON: You can ask me why I said.

GIBSON: I know.

SHARPTON: And what I said is this woman to me is correcting her statement.

GIBSON: This is what I want to find out. I want to find out if you're really aligning yourself with the views of Cindy Sheehan or if she's one big buffet. --I'll take a little of this but I won't take a little of that.

SHARPTON: First of all, we are praying for those families and praying for this country to get back on a course that is correct, where we do not use human lives for things less than what is absolutely true and provable. And that is happening in this war.

That's why I'm going. If I'm going to go through everything somebody said, she said or I said or anybody else said, I think that...

GIBSON: You could stay away.

SHARPTON: But I think...

GIBSON: You don't have to associate yourself with her.

SHARPTON: But I think that's really trying to distract from the point. I'm sure that many people from Mr. Bush's side that he does not agree with. If Mr. Bush was to walk down that road and see her on Sunday while I'm there...

GIBSON: He already saw her once...

SHARPTON: ...I won't ask him does he agree with Pat Robertson who made an illegal statement? The issue is the war.

GIBSON: Well, let me ask you about that. OK, fine.

SHARPTON: The issue is the loss of life.

SHARPTON: There are 1,900 dead Americans. Saddam Hussein is alive. Would you trade those dead 1900 dead Americans for the reverse? He be dead and they would be alive?

SHARPTON: Well, why do we have to trade for either?

GIBSON: Well, that's what you're criticizing Pat Robertson for...

SHARPTON: We didn't.

GIBSON: We could have assassinated him and saved those American lives.

SHARPTON: We didn't go to war based on a trade. We went to war because we said we were preventing an imminent dangerous situation.

GIBSON: Well, we weren't.

SHARPTON: Why don't you admit that weapons weren't there?

GIBSON: Would you admit you'd rather have Saddam Hussein (search) back in power? He's alive. We could put him in power.

GIBSON: Let me try this again. Would you admit the weapons weren't there?

GIBSON: If you want to send Saddam in power...


GIBSON: If you want to send Saddam in power.

SHARPTON: There are a lot of people that shouldn't be in power, but I don't have to lie to get him out of power.

GIBSON: Reverend Sharpton, thank you very much.

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