Skip to comments.Sharpton Seeks Respectability in President Race
Posted on 01/04/2004 3:14:32 PM PST by schaketo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Before he traded his jogging suits and bronze medallion for business attire in the U.S. presidential race, Al Sharpton was a scrappy street activist with a knack for thrusting himself into the center of New York's most highly charged racial incidents.
From the Crown Heights riots to the Tawana Brawley case, which resulted in a defamation judgment against Sharpton, the Pentecostal preacher has used fiery rhetoric, a flamboyant and confrontational style and lots of media attention to become a player in New York Democratic politics.
Although Sharpton is a longshot to win the Democratic presidential nomination against eight rivals, his campaign seeks to energize minority voters and pull the party to the left and away from the centrism of the Clinton era.
His platform includes constitutional amendments guaranteeing the right to education and health care, and support for affirmative action to promote minority hiring and abolishing the death penalty.
"The majority of Americans have been left out of the political dialogue," Sharpton said last January after filing papers for his presidential bid with the Federal Election Commission in Washington.
"The Democratic Party cannot win unless we expand our base and get those who have been disaffected."
Despite the racially tinged rhetoric that made him famous, Sharpton became a political force in New York, where he won 32 percent of the vote in the 1997 Democratic mayoral primary with a strong showing among African-Americans. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 1992 and 1994.
His freewheeling appearances in a series of fall Democratic debates bolstered his reputation and earned him a slot in December as a guest host on "Saturday Night Live," and he could win enough black votes in key states like South Carolina to influence the outcome.
He has campaigned hard and made frequent appearances in black churches in South Carolina, which holds an early Feb. 3 primary and where at least 40 percent of the Democratic voters are expected to be African-American.
Sharpton, 48, says he began his life of public activism when other children were still in preschool. Sharpton was born Oct. 3, 1954, in Queens and delivered his first sermon when he was four and was ordained at 10, the standard Sharpton biography goes. As a teenager, he worked for Jesse Jackson's Operation Breadbasket, organizing protests against companies that discriminated against black people.
In the early 1970s, Sharpton joined James Brown's entourage, accompanying the soul singer on tour. The two became close and Sharpton identifies Brown as a mentor and father figure. Sharpton entered the national scene in 1985 as an itinerant preacher and activist with the Bernhard Goetz case, demanding the white man who shot a black gang of young muggers receive a stiff sentence.
His most notorious case came in 1987, when Tawana Brawley, a black teenager from Poughkeepsie, New York, said she had been abducted, raped and smeared with feces by white men.
Sharpton accused Steven Pagones, a young assistant district attorney, of being a participant in the rape. A grand jury later found Brawley's charges were phony and the crime had never occurred.
Pagones successfully sued Sharpton for defamation and in 1998 was awarded $65,000.
The Brawley case did not deter Sharpton. After the 1991 Crown Heights riots in New York City, in which a black mob killed a Jewish man and injured about 100 others, Sharpton spoke of "diamond merchants," a reference to Orthodox Jews in the neighborhood.
In 1995, Sharpton denounced a Jewish store owner in Harlem as a "white interloper." After weeks of protests against the Jewish owner, an arsonist set fire to the store, killing eight people.
Five years later, Sharpton's newfound status as a Democratic power broker was ratified when 2000 presidential candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley and Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton conferred with him.
He is married to Kathy Jordan and they have two teenage daughters.
BIG AL NEEDS OUR HELP NOW MORE THAN EVER!
*** Register as a democrat and vote for Crazy Al! ***
During the May 3, 2003 demoncrap debate in Columbia, S.C., our man Al stated The way to move a donkey is to slap the donkey, and Im going to slap the donkey until the donkey kicks.
Lets help Crazy Al slap the donkey until it kicks.
GW has the Republican nomination sewn up. Its time for all good republicans, libertarians, and independents to stand up and be counted. Lets take a page from Sen. McCains play book. Prior to the 2004 democratic presidential primary in your state, re-register as a democrat and vote for Al Sharpton!
Lets ensure Crazy Al gets prime time speaking rights at the 2004 nationally televised democratic convention. You gotta love it. Line up, sign up, and send this to all your like-minded friends.
Here is a link to planned 2004 primary dates from the National Association of Secretaries of State:
Check here for the rules governing primary voting in your state:
In case youd like to send Big Al a donation:
Anyone need a bumper sticker or button?
How about an Al Sharpton yard sign?
Want to keep up on the latest on Big Als progress? Go to the Republicans for Sharpton website at:
Oh yea, and dont forget to call the local demoncrap party headquarters and ask them the following before the primary election:
1. Can I get a ride to the polls help them spend their money during the primaries so theyll have less during the national election. Have them take you the scenic route and stop off and do some shopping on the way home.
2. Are you giving anything away free for voting democrat? Cigarettes, booze, box of cigars, box lunch, etc. Ask for two of each.
3. Send 25 cents in the mail to the DNC and watch how much they spend on mailing you to give to the party. Always send their solicitation back to them with all associated literature in the prepaid envelope included in the mailing. They have to pay that postage upon return. Great way to help them spend money and keep you up to date on their propaganda.
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number: 202-863-8000
Can you think of any other questions we should ask them?
Looking for your states democratic primary date so you can vote for Big Al? Go to:
|District of Columbia||
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He's a racist pig.
Needs to be said again. If you were in, or around, New York when the Brawley fiasco was taking place, you would wonder why this lying, racist, piece of scum is still breathing.
Thats exaclty right. This man should have been charged with inciting a riot and manslaughter.
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Well, nothing like Saturday Night Live to acquire some respectability.
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