Sharpton Insists He Still Has a Role to Play

Civil rights leader not threatened by new wave of black politicians
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2007 2:34 PM CST
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is greeted by Rev. Al Shaprton, left, after being introduced during the 9th annual National Action Network convention Saturday, April 21, 2007...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Is there a place for Al Sharpton in a Barack Obama world? The first black politician with a serious shot at the Oval Office hardly mentions race, whereas Sharpton is, as one historian puts it, “kind of a racial ambulance chaser.” But Sharpton isn’t worried. “They say we don’t matter,” he tells the Washington Post, then “they want to know who we’re endorsing.”

Sharpton has had a busy year, spearheading outrage over Don Imus, the Jena Six, and a Queens police shooting. “We’ve always had blacks so-called in the system and blacks outside,” he says, and while Obama speaks to the former, Sharpton holds sway over the latter. “If I’m a guy seeking office,” he says, “I would not want me against me.” (Read more Election 2008 stories.)