In an America where Barack Obama could be president, how important is Al Sharpton? Very, if you ask the candidates who are falling over themselves for his endorsement. As the reverend himself puts it: “On a bad day, I’m talking to large portions of the black community. ... If I’m a guy seeking office ... I would not want me against me.”
Sharpton said he is going to decide among Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Obama and former senator John Edwards of North Carolina. And like much of the black community, he is torn about which way to go.
“I really haven’t decided,” he said. He said he is most concerned about finding the candidate who will pursue his racial justice agenda.
He said he is also “being strategic,” and will make his endorsement before the South Carolina primary, where he hopes to have the biggest impact because of the state’s large black vote in the Democratic primary. In 2004, when he was a candidate for president, in the South Carolina primary, Sharpton said, “I got 10 percent—and spent like $2.”