Vivek Ramaswamy, GOP debate

Video of Young Ramaswamy Questioning Al Sharpton At 2003 Town Hall Goes Viral

A video depicting an 18-year-old Vivek Ramaswamy questioning 2003 Democratic candidate Al Sharpton about his lack of political experience has been making the rounds on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In October 2003, at a residential town hall televised on Hardball With Chris Matthews, Ramaswamy, then a Harvard student, asked, “Of all the Democratic candidates out there, why should I vote for the one with the least political experience?” 

Sharpton quickly quipped, “Well, you shouldn’t because I have the most political experience. I got involved in the political movement when I was 12 years old, and I have been involved in social policy for the last 30 years.”

Sharpton then reminded the college student that he should not confuse people who have a job with those who have experience. The timing of the clip coincides with questions surrounding Ramaswamy’s own lack of political experience on the Republican debate stage. 

During the latest debate, the tech entrepreneur faced pointed criticism from both former Vice President Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, who attacked Ramaswamy’s lack of political experience and especially his lack of experience with foreign policy.

Pence described Ramaswamy as a “rookie,” and Haley said, “You have no foreign policy experience, and it shows.”

Even though 27% of GOP voters thought that the biotech engineer won the debate, Ramaswamy’s support dropped from 10% to 9%, according to a poll conducted by Emerson College. Ramaswamy is currently third in the Republican race, trailing embattled ex-President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Despite Trump’s legal troubles, he enjoys a wide lead in the race, separated from second place DeSantis by nearly 40 percentage points.

Ramaswamy responded to the clip’s viral moment by smugly captioning the video on the X platform that he would give his 18-year-old self a pat on the back because his question elicited the most sensible response he has ever heard from Sharpton in his political career. ­

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