This is a partial transcript from the Nov. 4, 2004, edition of "The O'Reilly Factor," that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, the Democrats actually lost votes from four years ago, in addition to losing seats in both the House and the Senate, as you know. So what happened? With us now former Democratic presidential candidate, Al Sharpton.
You know, I was thinking to myself today, who is the Democrat who is actually going to tell me the truth? Who is the guy who is going to really lay out what happened here? And you know, your name popped into my mind.
REV. AL SHARPTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm going to tell you what I feel. And I'm glad that my name popped in your mind in that regard, that I try to tell the truth.
One, I don't know that anyone knows all that happened. But I think that as we sort this out, several things did happen. I think, one, the Democratic Party, as I said during the primaries, must define itself, must define its message, and then drive its voters out based on that message.
O'REILLY: Well, you got them out. I mean, looks like there was about a 30 percent increase of blacks voting. The 18- to 24's didn't go. It was about the same. You got them out.
SHARPTON: Well, I think that's interesting, Bill. You got to stop right there, because the predictions were two or three weeks ago that Bush was going to double his black vote. And it didn't happen.
O'REILLY: Two percent, he went up from 9 to 11 percent.
SHARPTON: Well, which is nowhere near what they were projecting. What happened to this great groundswell of black support for George Bush?
O'REILLY: I don't know, but without the blacks' increase, Kerry loses by a landslide. So black voters kept Kerry in the game. But the point of the matter is that Kerry lost decisively and the Democrats lost decisively in both Houses. And there has got to be a reason why.
SHARPTON: I think a lot of it is that we have got to identify with our base, working-class people. If there's anything that I would say early in the analysis is that we cannot continue to write off middle-class and lower-class working whites.
O'REILLY: But Kerry promised the moon. He promised every entitlement, he promised health care, expansion of government, expansion of welfare benefits. Everything that it seems Democratic voters want, he promised. More jobs.
SHARPTON: Well, I don't know that — Kerry himself I think was — did a good job. I think a lot of it is how the party operates and the message and how it's focused. I think that we should do things like put initiatives on the ballot, like the right wing did. They were very good, even though I disagree with them.
O'REILLY: Well, what initiatives you want? Let's have partial-birth abortion?
SHARPTON: No, let's have initiatives around minimum wage, let's have initiatives around public education, equal funding, let's have initiatives around health care. I think we could put things on the ballot that would drive our vote.
O'REILLY: You might be able to do that, but let's face it, the conservative movement here has all the emotion, because most Americans aren't conservative. Only 40 percent, though 40 percent is a lot, say they're conservative. But most Americans are traditionalists. They don't want gay marriage. They don't want a big change in the society. They don't want a progressive, you know, lighthouse on the hill. And that's where you guys have fallen down. It's a sense — you're a reverend, right? You're a religious guy.
O'REILLY: You know, most religious people by far voted for the Republicans. Catholics voted, Protestants voted ...
SHARPTON: The most religious people would also vote if you raised the traditional things like we need to guarantee education to kids.
O'REILLY: But you already did that.
SHARPTON: We didn't put those initiatives ...
O'REILLY: ... spending and spending and spending.
SHARPTON: We didn't put those initiatives on the ballot, like they didn't just take a position on marriage. They put initiatives out there.
O'REILLY: Yeah, they said we don't want gay marriage.
SHARPTON: And they put it on the ballots in swing states.
O'REILLY: But where were the Democrats saying, we're with you on that?
SHARPTON: Well, I think Kerry and Bush had the same position on that.
O'REILLY: And Kerry didn't sell it?
SHARPTON: Well, again, that's my point.
O'REILLY: Because the left-wing base didn't want him to sell it.
SHARPTON: No, my point is that we had a lot to sell. The question is how it was packaged, how it was put on the ballot and how it drives out the vote.
O'REILLY: Isn't it true that the far left of the Democratic Party, the Soros wing, George Soros, the Michael Moores, all of those, they are the ones that have the visibility in the media, and they are the ones that define the Democratic Party, and that's why you're getting your butts kicked.
SHARPTON: I don't think that at all. First of all, Soros had — is not visible at all, and I do not know that he's a crazy left-winger. Michael Moore is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...
O'REILLY: You don't know, you want me to tell you how crazy the guy is?
SHARPTON: Well, I mean, again, but I don't know that [the] public even knows who Soros is.
O'REILLY: They know he's contributed $30 million.
SHARPTON: And look at all of the big buck guys with the Republicans.
O'REILLY: Nobody close. Nobody close.
SHARPTON: The Republicans were able to organize in the trenches, and that's what we need to do. It has nothing to do with funding.
O'REILLY: I agree, your analysis is right there, but you don't have anything to organize around.
SHARPTON: We have a lot to organize around. Jobs being outsourced ...
O'REILLY: Jobs what? Jobs what?
SHARPTON: We lost 1.8 million jobs in this (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
O'REILLY: Don't give me that, the unemployment rate is lower than when Bill Clinton got elected in '96. Come on.
SHARPTON: The unemployment rate now is lower with jobs ...
O'REILLY: Yeah, now.
SHARPTON: ... that pay much less. We needed to drive that message home.
O'REILLY: Black home ownership is at a record rate.
SHARPTON: And unemployment is at a record rate.
O'REILLY: No, it's not.
SHARPTON: Which is why George Bush ...
O'REILLY: Unemployment isn't at a record rate.
SHARPTON: I'm sorry, then why didn't blacks vote for George Bush?
O'REILLY: Because ...
SHARPTON: People were screaming all over your shoulder he's going to get 18 to 20 percent of the black vote.
O'REILLY: That's right.
SHARPTON: What happened?
O'REILLY: What happened was the blacks ...
SHARPTON: No spin, what happened?
O'REILLY: ... the blacks turned out to vote for Kerry along party lines.
SHARPTON: And they didn't leave their votes home. And they didn't leave their votes home.
O'REILLY: No, I respect that vote. I respect the black vote. Vote for who you want to. But you — the Democratic Party doesn't have their finger on the pulse of traditional America.
SHARPTON: No, I think that ...
O'REILLY: They don't.
SHARPTON: I think it was not packaged and put out right ...
O'REILLY: Packaged? Baloney.
SHARPTON: I think that we tried to play a gentleman's game with people who were not gentlemen. The convention ...
O'REILLY: Al, stop.
O'REILLY: You guys were just as ruthless as they are.
SHARPTON: The only speech attack at Bush at the convention was mine.
We did not — we gave him a four-day honeymoon, and he gave us a four-day tongue-lashing.
O'REILLY: You got — look, if you go on the Internet — you have a computer, right?
O'REILLY: And paid for by your ...
SHARPTON: By you. You donated it. You sent it to Harlem.
O'REILLY: I donated it to you, that's right. All right, you go on and ...
SHARPTON: An O'Reilly fact.
O'REILLY: ... you read those left-wing Web sites, you go into the DNC ...
SHARPTON: I read the right-wingers.
O'REILLY: ... and they are just as vicious as the right.
Final question for you. Right now, there is no leader in the Democratic Party. There isn't. That is a huge disadvantage for you come four years from now. Looks like Hillary Clinton is going to be your standard-bearer. She is even perceived as being more left than Kerry. You guys are in big trouble.
SHARPTON: Well, first of all, first of all, I think that there will be leadership clearly emerge ...
SHARPTON: After any election when a party is defeated, people come together. We're getting ready to have a summit meeting next week among many of the African-American political leadership. There will be leadership, and that leadership will go forward, and out of that leadership will emerge who will run in '08. Don't worry about that.
O'REILLY: Are you going to run again?
SHARPTON: I don't know what I'm going to do.
O'REILLY: Can you beat Hillary?
SHARPTON: I don't know what I'm going to do, nor do I know what Hillary is going to do. I guarantee you that the party will be alive and well in '08.
O'REILLY: I hope so. We need — we need ...
SHARPTON: Well, who's running? Who is going to run in '08? Who is the Republican leader? Jeb Bush?
SHARPTON: So you're going to take Giuliani who (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...
O'REILLY: I'm not taking anybody. I'm independent.
SHARPTON: ... who's pro-gay rights, pro-women's right to choose, and you're going to bring him down South?
O'REILLY: He's going to be the Republican guy.
SHARPTON: Bring him on. I never thought I'd live to say, bring Rudy on. We welcome that.
O'REILLY: All right. Well, he'll put you in jail after he gets elected.
SHARPTON: We'd welcome him.
O'REILLY: All right, Reverend Sharpton ...
SHARPTON: That's why he won't get elected. He'd put everybody in jail if he gets elected.
O'REILLY: Coming right back ...
SHARPTON: There aren't enough jails.
O'REILLY: All right, all right, we got it.
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