This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, September, 9 2003 that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST : We're now going to be joined from the debate site…be joined by presidential hopeful…the Reverend Al Sharpton (search) is checking in with us, who played a very prominent role tonight.
Reverend Sharpton, how are you? Thank you for being with us.
REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fine. I'm very well. How are you, Sean?
HANNITY: Well, I got to give you a lot of credit. I thought that you really went out of your way when the hecklers were out there, and you took control of the moment. And I think…I think you really shined in those moments. Did you hear what they were saying?
SHARPTON: I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I felt it was disrespectful, particularly since we've done any number of these forums, we've never had disruption. Here was a night the Congressional Black Caucus (search) wanted to finally have a mainstream American audience listen to our concerns, and they chose to disrupt. And I wasn't going to sit by and silently tolerate that.
HANNITY: Well, I know FOX was glad to provide the forum for all the candidates tonight. We are fair and balanced. I want to ask you…you have criticized your party, the Democratic Party, for treating black voters like…and these are your words…"a mistress, a mistress where they take you out to have fun, but they take you home…but they can't take you home to Mama or Daddy. Either we're going to get married in 2004, or we're going to find some folks who ain't ashamed to be seen with us."
That came up a couple of times tonight.
SHARPTON: Well, I think what I've said…and I've heard this from all over the country…is that we are committed to defeating George Bush, but we're also committed based on principle. There are too many people that are in leadership in the Democratic Party who have taken us for granted. When I look at what is going on in Florida, a man hanging in a prison, and officials that we appealed to, Democratic, wouldn't move. We have a man in Shreveport, Louisiana, shot in the back by police eight times on film.
SHARPTON: I can't get the attorney general to move. We need to deal with the old South leftovers like…and like those in Florida... and around the country in our own party while we challenge Mr. Bush and the Republicans.
HANNITY: All right, fair enough. I guess it's a legitimate criticism. One of the main themes I took out of this tonight was just a non-stop attack against President Bush. He was referred to…We can't trust this president. Senator Graham said that. A miserable failure, Gephardt repeating his line. Tax cuts for millionaires, irresponsible, hang a sign out that this president is hazardous to your health. It goes on and on. All the candidates took their shots. And you took a particularly harsh shot when you said and compared him to a gang leader. Is that the appropriate type of language...
SHARPTON: I said that...
HANNITY: ... from a man who wants to be president of the United States?
SHARPTON: Absolutely. I said that he...
HANNITY: A gang leader?
SHARPTON: ... spoke as a gang leader spoke. This "Let's get it on" kind of bravado is not something that a president should be saying. I think that you hear that in the streets, and when you say that, particularly when you have American troops on the ground who could be killed and were killed, I thought it was irresponsible. I think it is not, in my judgment, rising to the level of the office. And I think he should be called out on it.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Reverend, it's Alan. Good to have you on with us. Thank you for doing our program after the big debate tonight.
SHARPTON: How're you doing, Alan?
COLMES: Good, sir. Let me ask you...
SHARPTON: How do you feel?
COLMES: All right. Thank you for asking. How do you feel? I feel good.
SHARPTON: I feel good.
COLMES: Do you think you came out ahead in the debate tonight, if you want to self-referee?
SHARPTON: Well, I don't know. I think that, you know, this is not just about competition, it's about raising issues. I think America won tonight because I think that some of the issues that have not been brought into the living rooms of a lot of Americans that didn't understand what we were even saying. Maybe more people heard it tonight. So I think it's good for everybody.
COLMES: When you talked about the marriage, and if you don't get married, no four…if… with the Democrats, then maybe the relationship won't go forward…are you suggesting that if you don't get the nomination, you may seek the presidency independently of the Democratic Party?
SHARPTON: No. What I'm saying is that unless we deal with interests…this is not just about me winning a nomination. I'm talking about…and I laid it out. I said the interest of our communities and labor and others that have been loyal to the party. If that is not dealt with, then there are alternatives. A lot of people are looking at independent parties. A lot of people are looking at other alternatives. You cannot expect people to continue to be loyal to you if you're not loyal to them.
COLMES: All right, so...
SHARPTON: ... I was very specific.
COLMES: That suggests that you might look at an independent run, if you don't get the nomination or someone you feel you can't support...gets the nomination.
SHARPTON: If I were looking at an independent run, I would not have entered the Democratic primaries. I intend to be the Democratic nominee. If I don't become that nominee, I would expect who is that nominee to deal with the interests of all communities and not take us for granted and earn our support, as I think some of the candidates tonight said that. But that needs to be dealt with, and I raised specific incidents, like when the Senate members did not let the caucus be heard...
SHARPTON: ... and other things around the country that I raised, from Louisiana to Florida to here. We have real grievances that we should not compromise on.
COLMES: Each of the candidates talked about how they were friendly to the African-American community. Do you think any pandering went on tonight?
SHARPTON: I mean, you got to say more than, ‘Some of my best friends are black.’ And you've got to say more than, ‘Now I'm going to tell whites about racism.’ I mean, where have people been for years? I think that there was some. But again, I think if they move toward real programs and real commitments, that is good. There must be a challenge. I think all of them, any of them are better than Bush, but just being better than Bush does not make you as good as you should and could be.
HANNITY: Reverend, thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.
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