Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is giving himself a “pat-on-the-back” after a nearly 20-year-old clip of himself asking a presidential hopeful why someone with “the least political experience” should earn his vote went viral.
During an October 2003 MSNBC town hall ahead of the 2004 election, the then-Harvard student posed a question to then-Democratic candidate Rev. Al Sharpton on his lack of office holding, noting that Sharpton’s sit-down with “Hardball” host Chris Matthews had followed two Democratic rivals, then-sitting Senators John Edwards and John Kerry, the latter who ultimately won the nomination but lost in the general election to President George W. Bush.
“Of all the Democratic candidates out there, why should I vote for the one with the least political experience?” the 18-year-old Ramaswamy asked.
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Harvard student Vivek Ramaswamy asked then-Democratic presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton about his lack of “political experience” during an October 2003 town hall that aired on MSNBC. (Screenshot/MSNBC)
“Well, you shouldn’t, because I have the most political experience,” Sharpton responded, sparking laughs and applause from the audience. “I got involved in the political movement when I was 12 years old. And I’ve been involved in social policy for the last 30 years, so don’t confuse people that have a job with political experience.”
“As we have seen with the present occupant in the White House, George Bush was a governor and clearly has shown he doesn’t have political experience,” Sharpton later quipped.
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Then-Democratic presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton took a question from then-college student Vivek Ramaswamy during an October 2003 MSNBC town hall. (Screenshot/MSNBC)
Ramaswamy reacted to the viral clip.
“I’ll give the 18-year-old version of myself a pat-on-the-back for eliciting the most sensible words ever to come from that man’s mouth,” Ramaswamy wrote on Monday, swiping the now-MSNBC host Sharpton.
He added, “20 years later, it’s funny how the tables have turned.”
The clip, which went viral on Monday, first resurfaced after Ramaswamy referred to his exchange with Sharpton in an interview published in Time magazine earlier this month.
Ramaswamy recently acknowledged that he voted for the libertarian candidate in the 2004 election after previously claiming he had not voted until 2020, when he supported former President Trump over President Biden.
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Vivek Ramaswamy was repeatedly attacked by his GOP rivals for his lack of political experience during the first Republican presidential debate. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Ramaswamy himself took plenty of slings and arrows during the first Republican presidential debate, particularly over his youth and non-political background. Former Vice President Mike Pence knocked Ramaswamy as a “rookie,” while former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called him an “amateur” and compared him to Barack Obama.
According to the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Ramaswamy is placing third with 7.5% behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 13% and former President Trump, who continues to dominate the GOP field with 53%.