Rev. Al Sharpton Wants Two Dems Off Alabama Ballot

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," May 23, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Former presidential candidate Al Sharpton is trying to get a couple of his fellow Democrats removed from the ballot in Alabama. One of them denies the Holocaust ever took place, and the other thinks killing illegal immigrants would be a way to keep them out of the state. Rev. Sharpton joins us now.

So you must have been a little perplexed to find yourself on the attack against two Democrats.

REV. AL SHARPTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think they are not Democrats. And I think the state party in Alabama ought to make it clear in any way, shape or form they can that there's no way the Democratic Party can in any way promote people that deny the Holocaust exists, make racist statements against Martin Luther King and another one that says immigrants ought to be hunted down and lynched.

Absolutely, if there's a time for the Democratic state party in Alabama to define who it is, these two guys — one of whom is second in the polls for the attorney general's race — these two guys give them an opportunity to define who they are or are not.

GIBSON: How has the Alabama Democratic Party responded?

SHARPTON: They say there is no technical way other than there is something in their bylaws, if you are against the public interest. This is a time to test that. I think they can at least make a firm statement that the state party abhors what these guys stand for and encourage Democrats not to support them. Even if there's a legal challenge, these guys have to protect their status. It should be made clear from the state party that these guys are not considered welcome in the Democratic Party.

GIBSON: Where is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee on this? Has he spoken?

SHARPTON: I've not heard from...

GIBSON: We're talking about Howard Dean.

SHARPTON: I have not heard from him on this. I think all Democrats — I happen to have members of the organization I lead in the Civil Rights National Action Network and family that live in Alabama. And when I'm in touch with them and keep hearing about these guys I said, "Wait a minute, somebody needs to say something. This is absolutely ridiculous."

So that's why I said something. I would hope the chairman of the party, nationally, all the way around to the chairmen of other states say to this state chairman you have to be loud and consistent about denouncing this.

GIBSON: Are you in the position that all you can really do is try to get another Democrat to run against them or encourage voters to vote against them? Can you get the Democratic Party to say to these individuals, "You are not Democrats? We won't let you in the party?"

SHARPTON: Well, I think that they should. I don't think that these guys, from what I understand, would withdraw willingly. I think they ought to test first the guidelines that gives them, in my judgment, some legal room. Because after these guys go into court and fight them in fact and defined these things before a jury, and I think secondly they ought to ask them publicly not to run to Democrats. They ought to make a public issue out of this. They should not act like this is normal. Do these guys have the right to their views? Yes. Do they have the right to run? Yes. Does the party have the right to say they are not adhering to what we as a party stands for? Yes, everybody has free speech in this.

GIBSON: As long as we're cleaning up the Democratic Party, what about Rep. William Jefferson?

SHARPTON: What about him?

GIBSON: Well he's on tape taking a $100,000 bribe, evidently.

SHARPTON: The problem that I've got with that, and I'm sure you have your legal expert The Judge. Here's the question that I have. The question is, if they have such an open and shut case that he took $100,000 cash...

GIBSON: ...and put in the freezer.

SHARPTON: A year ago, then what are they raiding his office a year later for, breaking all kinds of things that even Republicans are saying this breaks the Constitution. It doesn't seem like the case was that clear-cut to me. Why would you be raiding a year later if you have this video and a clear-cut case against him?

GIBSON: Well, let me just remind you, Monday I asked The Judge about this, and he said there's absolutely no reason that the Feds should not be able to raid the congressman's office on a criminal investigation. But Rev. Sharpton, thank you for coming in.

SHARPTON: Thank you.

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