Tommy Llamas on Al Sharpton
updated 3/5/2004 11:52:06 AM ET 2004-03-05T16:52:06

Friday, March 5

The Reverend Al Sharpton is currently at the negotiating table with leaders in the Democratic Party. Campaign Manager Charles Halloran said Reverend Sharpton is still in the race and will campaign in Florida. But a source close to the campaign said Reverend Sharpton was considering making an announcement today about the future of his candidacy--no announcements were made. The New York Times reported that Reverend Sharpton and Senator John Kerry spoke on the phone Wednesday and planned on meeting in the near future. It’s not clear what Sharpton is exactly asking for or what he’s leveraging but he still wants to play a role in helping Democrats defeat President Bush. In the past he’s expressed an interest in speaking at the Democratic National Convention, and has said he’ll either speak inside the Convention hall or outside in the parking lot. No announcements or campaign events have been scheduled for tomorrow.

Thursday, March 4

The AP reports that Sharpton will stay in the race…at least until next week’s round of primaries.

"He says his campaign will regroup and then focus on next week's primary in Florida."

Wednesday, March 3

Super Tuesday’s results in New York sent a direct message to the Reverend Al Sharpton-It’s time to reexamine the future of the campaign.

Rev. Sharpton, who placed a distant third in his home state, signaled for the first time tonight that he is considering not staying in the race until the Democratic National Convention.

"We’ll see over the next day or so whether we’ll try to continue to pick up delegates or whether we’re going try to enter into conversations with the DNC or Kerry I don’t know yet," said Sharpton.

At this point Sharpton wants the Democratic Party to adopt his "urban agenda." That agenda, says Sharpton, will range from jobs and healthcare for the poor to addressing the issue of "police misconduct." For Sharpton to leave the race the party would have to agree to make the "urban agenda" part of their national platform going into the general election.

"This has always been about the empowerment of people," said Sharpton.

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Sharpton, who was one and half-hours late to his post primary party, spoke to a crowd of about 30 supporters in Harlem.

"Guys that had a lot more money than me gone. I’m still here. And unlike the prophets of doom rumors of my death were premature. I am alive and well in New York City," said Sharpton.

Sharpton’s tone tonight proves that he’s ready to discuss his next role with the DNC or Senator Kerry. Now it’s up to the DNC or Senator Kerry to decide when that discussion happens.

Monday, March 1

It looks like Sharpton’s trip to Haiti will not be happening anytime soon. A source close to Sharpton’s National Action Network expressed doubts about the trip early Monday morning. The National Journal’s Hotline reported later in the day that the trip was completely off. The National Action Network did not return phone calls in regards to the trip. Sharpton's plan to hold an upcoming rally in Miami with Haitian Americans is still on but a date has not been scheduled.

Friday, Feb. 27

The Reverend Al Sharpton will visit Haiti on Wednesday for a "fact-finding mission." Sharpton says both President Jean Bertrand Aristide and opposition leaders will meet with him and his "humanitarian delegation." According to a press release from Sharpton’s National Action Network:

"Lewis Day, Spokesperson for the National Front for the Freedom of Haiti (FNLH) has also agreed to meet with Rev. Sharpton and his delegation and has guaranteed them "Safe Passage" to Cape Haitian during their fact finding mission."

Reverend Sharpton will also hold meetings with Haitian Americans in Miami, Florida before and after his trip.

Wednesday, Feb. 25

The Reverend Al Sharpton is planning on leaving for Haiti this week to negotiate a peace accord between President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the rebel groups.

Sharpton says President Aristide and Opposition leader Paul Dennis have agreed to meet with him when he arrives in the country.

"If that (U.S. backed) proposal is turned down at 5 pm today I am told I will be able to get into Haiti," said Sharpton during a press conference at the Haitian Consulate in New York.

Rev. Sharpton, who is not taking sides on the matter, says his goal is to stop the bloodshed and bring stability back to the country.

Monday, Feb. 23

The Reverend Al Sharpton says progressives should not vote for Nader.

"A vote for Nader will be a vote for Bush," said Sharpton in a statement released by his campaign today. Sharpton says progressives need to be united behind the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.

"I will continue to rally progressive voters to reform the Democratic Party from the inside. Together we will elect a Democratic President," said Sharpton.

Sharpton will hold another press conference to announce his New York delegate slate. This will be the second time, in less than three months, that Sharpton holds a press conference to show his pledged support in the city of New York. Among those joining Sharpton the second time around are Rep. Jose Serrano and Councilman Adam Clayton Powell IV.

Friday, Feb. 20

The Reverend Al Sharpton attacked Senator John Edwards and Senator John Kerry on Thursday for not addressing an "urban agenda."

"What’s is Kerry’s position on police brutality, what is Edwards? They’re talking to us like our concerns don’t matter," said Sharpton. "Well if you talk ethanol in Iowa, you’re going to discuss brutality in New York and in California."

Sharpton made his remarks during a DC 1707 rally at the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in New York. DC 1707 members who work in daycare are protesting because they have not received new contracts from the city of New York since 2000.

"This campaign is as much about daycare workers as it is about Iowa farmers," said Sharpton to an audience made up mostly of children from Manhattan daycare centers.

Reverend Sharpton, who addressed the union’s concerns, did not propose any plans to help DC 1707 get contracts; rather the focus of his speech centered on his own candidacy. Sharpton, whose Super Tuesday strategy will concentrate on the cities of Los Angeles and New York, will campaign in California this weekend.

LA court rules against Sharpton
The Reverend Al Sharpton will not be on Louisiana’s primary ballot. A judge ruled that Sharpton’s application had too many errors, which were not corrected by deadline.

Friday, Feb. 13

The Times Picayune reports that the Reverend Al Sharpton could delay Louisiana’s primary. From the Times Picayune:

"The state says Sharpton was kept off the ballot because he failed to properly qualify for the primary. The Democratic presidential candidate and civil rights activist responded with a lawsuit against Secretary of State Fox McKeithen, the state's chief elections officer.

If a district court or higher appellate courts order Sharpton's name onto the ballot, "the likelihood of postponement of the election would be very real," First Assistant Secretary of State Al Ater said.

Thursday, Feb. 12

The Reverend Al Sharpton’s campaign manager Charles Halloran is blaming Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. for leading an effort to discredit the campaign’s efforts.

Halloran tells NBC NEWS, among other claims, that recent media reports slamming Reverend Sharpton are part of a "Jesse Jackson Jr. hatchet job."

"It’s all a [Rep.] Jesse Jackson Jr plan to try to cast dispersion against the Reverend because he’s embarrassed," said Halloran. "He must have felt like a buffoon because he backed Dean."

Recently, the New York Post reported on "Page Six" that Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. had been handing out copies of a Village Voice article linking Sharpton to Republican operative Roger Stone.

"The Jacksons are blast faxing and e-mailing you don’t see the Reverend’s daughters passing out books bashing Jackson. You don’t see the Reverend’s daughters handing out Shakedown [:Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson]," said Halloran.

Halloran also expressed that attacks on Sharpton from both Jackson Jr and his father Jesse Jackson could hurt the Democratic Party down the line.

"I can tell you the Reverend hasn’t taken any shots at them and looking forward it’s not very smart for the Jacksons to create this animosity when we are supposed to be about fighting George Bush in the fall," said Halloran.

The Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. could not be reached for comment.

Wednesday, Feb. 11

Since the Reverend Al Sharpton has entered the primary season headlines from New York City papers have been nothing but troubling. Connections to Republican operative Roger Stone and questionable campaign finances have led to investigative reports by the New York Times and the Village Voice. To top off the bad press former Campaign Manager Frank Watkins spoke with the Voice in a "wide-raging interview" published today. In the interview Watkins describes why he left the campaign, the Stone connection, and some questionable actions surrounding current Campaign Manager Charles Halloran and his staff.

Sunday, Feb. 8

The Reverend Al Sharpton did not place in the top three in the Michigan Caucus on Saturday but the campaign still declared it a delegate success. Reverend Sharpton picked up 8 delegates by placing second in the two Congressional Districts that make up Detroit. Sharpton was able to pick up only 7 percent of the state vote.

Scheduling problems
The Reverend Al Sharpton’s campaign has yet to put out a comprehensive public schedule since Feb. 3. The campaign says that their scheduler, John Wilson, has left the campaign because his 30-day contract had expired. Campaign spokesperson Rachel Noerdlinger said they are currently hiring a new scheduler and a schedule would be put out shortly, but did not give a timeframe of when that would happen.

Thursday, Feb. 5

Sharpton has filed a lawsuit to get on Louisiana’s primary ballot. Sharpton has brought the suit because he was denied access because of filing improperly.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

South Carolina bust
Months of campaigning, over 20 churches, three office openings, and scarce money spent on ad dollars yielded no delegates in South Carolina for Reverend Sharpton. Sharpton placed third in the primary getting close to 10% of the vote. Delegateless, Sharpton still declared a victory.

"I think the fact that I went double digits in number third is a victory in itself…if I had told you when you came out on the road with us that I would have doubled Howard Dean and triple Joe Liberman in South Carolina you would have thought I was on crack."

Sharpton’s message to South Carolinians was simple: enough votes means delegates--which means a place at the Democratic National Convention. It’s hard for Sharpton to spin this as a victory. He spent most of his money, time, and energy in the state, but received no delegates to show for it. During his press conference after the results came in Sharpton cited the numerous churches he has visited. But at the end of the day he needed more than prayers to vindicate his run.

Homeless for Sharpton
A polling area located at the Second Nazareth Baptist Church in a low-income area of Columbia brought some interesting Sharpton supporters. Scott Mittan and Howard Smith, two homeless men, holding Sharpton signs told me that they were recruited at the Hampton Winter Shelter.

"They pay us $50 dollars," said Mittan

A homeless woman who was also campaigning for Sharpton said that around 40 people were recruited from the shelter and were going to get paid $50 dollars for some eleven hours of work.

Campaign manager Charles Halloran cringed when he asked about the supporters and a reporter told him they were homeless recruits. But Halloran quickly cited that it was "standard procedure" to pay $75-the usual rate. Sharpton, though short on the usual rate, said he was employing the unemployed and was doing a service to the community. Most of Sharpton’s homeless supporters said they were not voting because they were unregistered.

7 states = 1 Delaware delegate
Out of the seven states holding primaries and the 247 delegates up for grabs the Reverend Al Sharpton successfully won a delegate. Senator John Kerry pulled in 14 of Delaware’s 15 delegates. But Sharpton, who spent this past Saturday campaigning in Delaware, grabbed his sole delegate on Feb. 3 in the "First State."

Tuesday, Feb. 3

The Reverend Al Sharpton took off this morning on his first official campaign bus tour. The idea was originally advertised as a 24-hour tour through South Carolina. But that idea was nixed for a shorter tour starting at the Charleston Slave Market site and branching to more remote areas of the Palmetto State. The media outnumbered the supporters that showed up for the stop. Sharpton, standing in front of the former slave market area, said the "past is ugly," but there is hope in the "brightness of the future." Sharpton selected the slave market to show that African-Americans have gone from being sold as "property" to running for President. From one stop to the next Sharpton went from talking about slavery to comparing himself to "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer." Sharpton told a group of Georgetown Steel Workers and supporters that Rudolph had courage for being at the front of the reindeer line.

"Rudolph went down in history," said Sharpton

"If I could I would vote for him five times," said Gilly Green after hearing the Rudolph comparison.

Green, an African-American, said that he was not aware of Sharpton until he saw him on television the night before. Gilly said "nah" when asked if he knew of anyone else voting for Sharpton. Green stated that his community in Georgetown was not familiar with Sharpton.

The other stops drew small to medium crowds.

In total Sharpton probably spoke to less than 100 voters during the trip. The stops, strategic because of their remote locations, had poor turnouts. He did succeed in the amount of media attention he received. By supplying the bus numerous national TV and newspaper reporters hitched a ride and spent the day writing about and interviewing Sharpton along the way. Next to his appearance on Saturday Night Live, the bus tour drove the most media attention to the campaign since he’s started campaigning.

Sharpton ended his primary eve with a giant gospel concert in Columbia. The "King of Gospel" John P. King headlined the concert. A crowd of around 500 people packed into the Reid Chapel AME Church to hear gospel and support Reverend Sharpton. Aside from the great gospel music that had people clapping on their feet, the event drew funds for Sharpton. It is not clear how much was raised but Sharpton had two $1,000 donations plus numerous supporters tossed white envelopes full of money into the love offering/fundraising jars.

Sunday, Feb. 1

The Reverend Al Sharpton pushed through the outskirts of Columbia on Sunday. Sharpton stopped at three churches, delivering a fiery sermon at a church in North Augusta. Audience and press alike were "electrified" by Sharpton’s soulful sermon. As the gospel sang "Ain’t no party like a Holy Ghost party" Sharpton took the pulpit. He spoke of "Plantation Politics."

"Plantation politics:…the assumption that black voters belong to somebody, and that I am in some way trying to take them from people that own them," said Sharpton.

Though Sharpton delivered more than one powerful sermon on Sunday, he was nearly 2 hours late for his first church. Parishioners I spoke to say they did not mind but the church’s preacher said the "divine" is always on time.

"Rev. Sharpton may be late, but Jesus is never late."

Friday, Jan. 30

Tomorrow’s poll numbers will be the big-bad news for the Sharpton campaign. The MSNBC South Carolina tracking poll to be released tomorrow will show Rev. Sharpton tied for fifth place with Senator Joseph Lieberman. The two candidates are polling at 5 percent in the state. This is the lowest Sharpton has polled in the state in quite a few months. Sharpton has invested heavily in South Carolina with time, money, and hype. He has portrayed South Carolina to be his delegate breakthrough state. It should be noted that an ARG poll taken early this week had Sharpton in third place with 15 percent of the vote.

Sharpton was well received at last night’s MSNBC debate. He got the most applause and was able to discuss issues of race, unemployment, and the Confederate Flag.

But the buzz in the spin room was about his chances of winning South Carolina’s primary.

"We have built a grassroots infrastructure that people have just underestimated," said Sharpton. "I think it is important because people understand, it’s not about money, it’s not about big name endorsements. It's about who is going to represent their interests at the convention."

Sharpton will be campaigning all day tomorrow in the state. He will be joined on the trail by talk show host Tom Joyner.

Thursday, Jan. 29

The 'show me' candidate
Sharpton declared himself today the "Show Me Candidate." Sharpton spent all of Wednesday campaigning in Saint Louis, Missouri. Two state representatives and more than 15 elected community leaders, all from the St. Louis area, endorsed Rev. Sharpton during a press conference. Sharpton, who has said endorsements are co-signers for people "who have bad credit," noted that he had been in St. Louis for years protesting and empowering people.

"I established I got credit before I received the endorsements," said Sharpton

Sharpton spoke to around 700 different people over the course of the day. His motto today was a play on the state’s nickname.

"I come to the Show Me State. I can show you where I been. I can show you how I understood and headed your calls. I’m the Show Me Candidate. I’m not the candidate doing drive by campaigning running through the arc hoping you all won’t notice I never been here before," said Sharpton.

Sharpton’s organization in this state is made up of volunteers who have worked with Sharpton on numerous protests and marches in St. Louis.

One in particular will prove to be a huge asset considering the technology he posses.

Reverend Cleo Willis, President of Justice Inc., was extremely excited to tell me that he owns a robotic phone calling machine that can call 690 numbers a day. Tomorrow Willis plans on launching the phone drive possibly using the Johnnie Cochran ad from South Carolina. The phone calls will be made from 9am to 9pm through Feb. 3.

Brown busted
James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, was arrested on domestic violence charges in South Carolina today. Sharpton calls Brown his "surrogate father" and has mentions the entertainer frequently while campaigning in the Palmetto State. Sharpton said he had heard about the arrest but did not know the details of what happened.

"I talked to his daughter. I don’t know the details, and I will not say anything until I’ve talked to them and found out what that is all about," said Sharpton.

When asked if the arrest would affect his campaign in South Carolina, Sharpton cracked a one liner.

"Not at all…I guess he’ll be out in time to vote for me."

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Mother Nature has thrown a wrench at Sharpton. A storm, which brought freezing rain upon South Carolina, made it impossible to campaign. Sharpton, who planned an extensive week of campaigning in the state was forced to cancel 2 days worth of events because of severe weather. With less than a week to go before the Feb. 3, primary every day counts.

Friday, Dec. 12

Sharpton camp upset with ABC
Sharpton’s campaign was not happy with ABC News’ decision to remove their “off-air reporter” from covering his campaign. “They are missing the story, the debate and the entire boat,” said Sharpton campaign manager Charles Halloran. ABC also pulled its reporters from the Kucinich and Moseley Braun campaigns. Halloran expressed that ABC’s actions are an example of the media trying to “regulate” tiers. “It’s obscene to the process.  Tiers are decided by voters.”

Tuesday, Dec. 9
The Gore news
Sharpton reacted to news that Al Gore was going to endorse Dean like this: “I think Mr. Gore has the right to make whatever endorsements he wants. I think, again, endorsements do not necessarily mean that that’s going to affect voters in the way that people think. ... I think that Americans, particularly in this media age, with 100 stations, Americans can make their decisions a lot more easily than they used to. So endorsement do not have the weight they once had. ... I don’t want to shock you, but I was not depending on Al Gore’s endorsement to do what I’m going to do in 2004.”

Friday, Dec. 5

Santa's little helper
Sharpton will appear on NBC’s “Today” show as a “Today Toy Drive” elf. As one of Santa’s little helpers, Sharpton will pick up toys from the audience for donation to charity. Sharpton will be an elf alongside recording artist Michael Buble. The gifts from the toy drive will go to over 220 children’s service organizations.

Tuesday, Dec. 2

Expecting a check
The Associated Press reports that Sharpton’s campaign is expecting a $100,000 check from public matching funds. This will be the first check sent to the campaign from the presidential public financing system.

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