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Obama: Sharpton's Alleged Jealousy 'Concocted by the Press'
By: Hazel Trice Edney
NNPA Washington Correspondent
Originally posted 3/20/2007

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – U. S. Sen. Barack Obama, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, has denounced reports of a rivalry between him and former presidential candidate Al Sharpton. In response, Sharpton has all but declared that he will not run again for the Democratic nomination.
“This is just something that was concocted by the press, the New York Post,” Obama said in an interview with the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service at a reception celebrating the 180th Anniversary of the Black Press last week. “It had nothing to do with my campaign. We talk frequently and I’ll be at his convention coming up in April,” he says of Sharpton.
Responding to Obama’s comments, Sharpton hinted this week that he will not run for the nomination again.
“I have not announced that, but I probably will announce it at the conference,” Sharpton says. “All of the candidates are speaking at the conference. And after that, we’ll decide where we’re going and who ever we decide we’re going to support, I’m definitely going to campaign for.”
The National Action Network’s annual convention is scheduled for April 18-21 in New York.

A March 12 article in the Post reported that Sharpton “has launched a ‘big-time’ effort to tear down Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as a candidate for president,” quoting an unnamed “prominent Black Democratic activist who knows Sharpton” and supports Hilary Clinton. The article called Sharpton “jealous.”
Sharpton said in an NNPA interview two weeks ago that a Washington Post-ABC poll showing Obama with 44 percent of the Black vote over Hilary Clinton’s 33 percent reveals how far he has to go to win support in the Black community.
“With the cover of Time Magazine, 60 Minutes, all of the positive press put together, and he doesn’t have 50 percent of the Black vote? That’s not good,” Sharpton said. “If he’s got more than half of Black people saying they’re not supporting him, what does that say?”
But, Sharpton explained this week that his opinion was not meant to be criticism or jealously, simply an analysis.
“He and I have talked by phone. He told me that he can assure me that no one in his campaign did it or to his knowledge was authorized,” Sharpton says. “I’m not trying to in any way impair his candidacy.”
In his personable, breeze-through visit at the opening Black Press Week reception hosted by the Black publishers, Obama praised the Black Press for continuing to set itself apart after nearly two centuries.
“You offer a unique voice that all too often is silent in the mainstream media and I know how hard it is to keep that paper going,” he said. Hitting on an oft-heard complaint by publishers, he said, “There’s no reason that the Black Press should not be getting its fair share of legal notices.”
Introduced by Black Press Week Chairman Ofield Dukes as “Mr. President,” Obama, posed for pictures and granted press interviews during his whirlwind visit. He stressed that the Black Press has been and is worth the investment because it not only focuses on issues such as “racial profiling” that other media often ignore, but it “also offers young leaders like me an outlet to shape public opinion.”

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