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I tried to figure out if this was goint to go in the "Signs of White Media Scared of Sharpton" thread, the "Al Sharpton: In the Running ..." thread, "Charlie Rangel And Andrew Young Endorse Wesley Clark" thread, or just add it to all of them.

We as you could see, I decided to let it stand along, because the message seems to go all over the place, which further leads me to believe that Sharpton is confusing the hell out of the media at times.

They keep trying to swat, box, or otherwise trap him and like a zany comedy they at times swat, box or trap themselves instead. To me when you look at the article as a whole it does just that -- trap itself.

A friend of mine is an artist, she does 'mixed media' work, blending different ideas, directions, strokes, and messages together to create a piece of art.

Well get a load of this:

quote:
By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ

Published: December 12, 2003


On Saturday, he pulled in big ratings as host of "Saturday Night Live." On Tuesday, he drew both applause and laughs in a nationally televised debate. On Wednesday, the day after a rival was endorsed by a former vice president, Al Gore, he sat down in Harlem for a private meeting with a former president, Bill Clinton.

Still, even as the Rev. Al Sharpton raises his national stature by running for the Democratic nomination for president, his political support at home in New York is slipping away, according to Democratic officials and strategists.

Only a handful of senior black elected officials have endorsed him, and many others, like Representative Charles B. Rangel and State Senator David A. Paterson, both of Harlem, have quite prominently endorsed his opponents.

This development has not gone unnoticed: Mr. Sharpton issued a threat this week, making it clear that he intends to put his political organization's machinery to work against the re-election of those local officials who abandoned him.

"They are going to have to deal with the consequences," he said in an interview. "I intend to hit the ground and mobilize a lot of the masses who will not be sold out."

Whether Mr. Sharpton can deliver on his threat is debatable. He has always been better at drawing attention to himself than at getting other candidates elected, New York Democrats point out.

Even his opponents concede, however, that Mr. Sharpton has the ability to marshal grass-roots efforts in the city's black and Hispanic neighborhoods, where he has made a name for himself as a civil rights advocate and street brawler.

In New York, where so many incumbents run with no opposition or the slimmest shadow of one, the mere threat of organized opposition can set off tremors. "This is a potential earthquake in New York politics," said Howard Wolfson, a senior Democratic strategist.

Many Democrats say Mr. Sharpton has himself to blame for his lukewarm reception among black elected officials in the city. These Democrats point out that he has been too preoccupied with cultivating a national audience to tend to his political base, where a political free-for-all has ensued over the presidential primaries.

Recently, for example, his campaign put out word that he had a big event on his political calendar: an appearance in Harlem with the major New York City politicians supporting his campaign.

His aides canceled the event at the last minute, though, saying Mr. Sharpton had another pressing commitment that had come up: rehearsing for "Saturday Night Live."

Meanwhile, the list of senior black and Hispanic elected officials backing candidates other than Mr. Sharpton keeps growing.

Yesterday, Mr. Rangel endorsed Gen. Wesley K. Clark at an event in Harlem. He has been working hard in recent weeks to build support for General Clark, using his status as an elder statesman of Harlem politics to gain other endorsements.

Among the elected officials he has managed to bring into the Clark camp are Assemblyman Keith L. Wright, a Harlem Democrat and chairman of the Black and Hispanic Caucus in the State Legislature; Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat of Washington Heights; and Mr. Paterson, the leader of the Democratic minority in the State Senate and a man the Sharpton camp had been aggressively courting.

Mr. Wright said it was difficult for him to side against Mr. Sharpton, who is enormously popular in his Assembly district. He could not, however, resist Mr. Rangel's entreaties. "I like Al," he said in an interview, but "when Charlie asks, you've got to respect that."

He added, "Charlie is like the Godfather."

According to Mr. Sharpton's campaign, there are nine local elected officials supporting him, including Adam Clayton Powell IV, an assemblyman from Harlem; Edolphus Towns, a congressman from Brooklyn; and José E. Serrano, a congressman from the Bronx.

Several black elected officials from New York City drew sharp contrasts between the Sharpton situation and the Rev. Jesse Jackson's 1988 campaign for president. They pointed out that very few black politicians dared support any candidate other than Mr. Jackson, fearing political fallout.

"It has not been a Jesse Jackson-like campaign," Mr. Rangel said.

Aides to Mr. Sharpton, who often portrays himself on the campaign trail as the inheritor of the Jackson mantle, say he remains a force to be reckoned with in the city. Further, they argue that his situation is much more akin to Mr. Jackson's first presidential bid in 1984.

In that race, they note, many black elected officials did not support Mr. Jackson, but on Election Day they discovered that large numbers of their constituents did. Mr. Sharpton argues that black elected officials learned a lesson that year, setting the stage for the widespread support Mr. Jackson got in 1988.

One possible explanation for Mr. Sharpton's lack of local support may have come from Mr. Jackson himself, who said black voters in general were more interested in supporting a candidate who has the potential to beat President Bush in November than in merely voting for a candidate because he is black.

Indeed, Mr. Sharpton has been getting from 5 percent to 11 percent of the Democratic vote in recent polls in New York, putting him in the middle of the pack in his home state. He is at the bottom of the polls in most other primary states, and he has not raised enough money to qualify for federal matching funds.

Mr. Sharpton is clearly angry that several Democrats running for president have made stops in Harlem, which had long been the home of his organization's headquarters, to pick up endorsements. First, Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, visited Harlem to attend a rally, where Mr. Gore endorsed him before a cheering crowd of prominent New York politicians, including Councilman Bill Perkins, whose district includes much of Harlem. Then, yesterday, General Clark headed uptown to attend a rally put together by Mr. Rangel.

Mr. Paterson was there, too, though the Sharpton campaign had been counting on him remaining neutral.

Mr. Paterson said his decision to support Mr. Clark rested on his calculation that he had the best chance of beating Mr. Bush next fall. Even so, he said, it was very difficult for him not to endorse the hometown candidate, Mr. Sharpton. Mr. Paterson said he phoned Mr. Sharpton on Wednesday night to let him know that he was torn but that, at Mr. Rangel's urging, he would attend the Clark rally.

"He's a friend of mine going back a long time," Mr. Paterson said of Mr. Sharpton. (People close to Mr. Sharpton said he understood the pressure that Mr. Rangel had placed on Mr. Paterson and did not take his decision as a personal affront.)

How much political juice Mr. Sharpton has to mount serious challenges to incumbent elected officials remains to be seen, but he has tended to surprise the political establishment. In 1997, he made a remarkably strong showing when he ran for the Democratic nomination for mayor, nearly forcing Ruth W. Messinger into a runoff.

According to people in Mr. Sharpton's inner circle, a likely target for political retribution is C. Virginia Fields, the Manhattan borough president, who is supporting Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. People close to Mr. Sharpton say that, among other things, he might try to undermine her efforts to run for mayor, something she is said to be considering.

Mrs. Fields said that she was not aware of such threats from the Sharpton camp, but she added that voters would judge her on her accomplishments in office, not on whom she endorsed in the primary. "I have a solid record that I will be looking to run on," she said.

In addition, people in the Sharpton camp say he may take aim at Mr. Rangel, who is up for re-election next year. Though it is doubtful that he can pose any serious threat to a politician of the congressman's stature, Mr. Sharpton can make mischief. Mr. Sharpton's intimates say Mr. Rangel will have to explain how he reconciled his support for General Clark with the general's support for the Navy's bombing exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

Mr. Rangel expressed surprise at the threats coming out of the Sharpton camp and noted that he spoke with Mr. Sharpton regularly.

Mr. Powell, the Harlem assemblyman backing Mr. Sharpton, said it was disappointing that some black elected officials in New York were turning their backs on Mr. Sharpton.

He said it was a terrible mistake, given Mr. Sharpton's influence among black and Hispanic voters in city elections. "We have nine presidential candidates now," he said. "After the primary, eight of them will fly out of town, but Al Sharpton will still be here."

Mr. Sharpton echoed that sentiment, saying, "I would be much more concerned about the guy who is not leaving town than someone who is there for a drive-by campaign."



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