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In the Spotlight

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Campaign 2004

Candidate Bio
Al Sharpton
Political affiliation:
Democratic Party
October 3, 1954
Brooklyn, NY
Married to singer Kathy Jordan. Two children. Pentecostal.
Attended Brooklyn College, 1973-75
Candidate for State Senate, 1978; Candidate for US Senate, 1992 & 1994; Candidate for New York City Mayor, 1997. Licensed and ordained a Minister at age 10 ; appointed Junior Pastor of the Washington Temple congregation. Founder & President, National Action Network, 1991-present. Founder, National Youth Movement, 1971. Road Manager for singer James Brown, 1973-80.
On the Issues


Sharpton's speech to the Democratic National Convention (6/28/03)
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Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton was one of only two candidates not named Kerry still in the race by the time Democrats held their national convention in Boston in July 2004. But he pulled out of the race, and was given a prime-time speaking role. Taking 20 minutes to speak, when he was given only 6, Sharpton electrified the delegates with a spirited rebuke of President George W. Bush, in what was a carefully scripted convention that sought to avoid direct attacks on Bush.

Hardly a word about Al Sharpton has been written in the mainstream media without "controversial" being placed before his name. Critics say he's little more than a publicity seeker who straddles the line of right and wrong. Time magazine says Sharpton views the campaign as his chance to displace Rev. Jesse Jackson as the icon of black leadership in America. He's a liberal Democrat who thinks the party's move to the center has come at the expense of the poor and minorities. He first gained national attention in the 1980s for defending Tawanna Brawley, who claimed to the victim of a racial attack. It turned out to be a hoax. Past political aspirations were muted by the 2002 HBO airing of a film showing Sharpton allegedly aggreeing to participate in money laundering for illegal, Mafia-connected cocaine deals; a tape which Sharpton said was an FBI set-up.

Minnesota delegates bring convention enthusiasm back home
Minnesota Democrats are returning home after wrapping up the four-day Democratic National Convention in Boston. The convention ended Thursday evening, after Sen. John Kerry accepted the party's nomination for president. Minnesota delegates uniformly cheered Kerry's remarks -- but the event is only the first step in what's sure to be a tough three months.
Kerry defines himself as a soldier, father and man of values
Soldier, father and man of values - John Kerry sought to define himself Thursday night to an American public still unfamiliar with the Democrat determined to replace President Bush. Kerry accepted his party's nomination in the embrace of an adoring hometown crowd, an affectionate introduction by his two daughters and a loyal lineup of fellow Vietnam veterans.
Pro-choice Catholics in Democratic delegation feel the heat
Sen. John Kerry is just the third Catholic ever nominated to be president of the United States. In 1928, Al Smith, and again in 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy -- both Democrats -- had to answer questions from voters about the role of their religion in governing. Now, some politicians are answering the same question, but this time it's coming from their church.
Convention speeches from John Edwards and others
We feature the best speeches from the third night of the Democratic National Convention, including the remarks of vice presidential hopeful John Edwards.
MPR coverage of the 2004 Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention met was held in Boston July 26-29, 2004. The convention nominated John Kerry to run for president. In this special section, MPR News explored several facets of the Democratic politics, you can also hear all the major speeches, and read the Editor's Notebook, a convention blog.
Kerry nominated; Edwards revives theme of two Americas
Sen. John Kerry collected the Democratic presidential nomination late Wednesday, as delegates to the party convention cast their votes for him. Kerry, a four-term Massachusetts senator, was in his Boston hotel when convention delegates formally bestowed the prize he won in a series of primaries and caucuses last winter and spring. He will deliver his acceptance speech Thursday evening. His running mate, Sen. John Edwards, spoke Wednesday night, reviving his primary campaign theme of two Americas -- one for the rich, and one for everyone else.
Kucinich delegates: What to do?
As the hour grew near to nominate John Kerry as the Democratic presidential candidate, about 60 delegates, including nine Minnesotans, struggled to find a way to show party unity and still express their support for Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich has urged supporters to back Kerry, but some delegates are leaning toward simply calling themselves "present" during the vote Wednesday night.
House Democrats on the back shelf at convention
In Washington, they're big dogs. But at the Democratic National Convention the party's House members can barely get a bone, relegated to early speaking slots with little television exposure and scant attention because of the single-minded focus on beating President Bush.
Minnesota DFLers united despite differences
Democrats in Boston have approved a new platform that more than doubles the space given to defense and foreign policy issues. It also touches on the controversial issues of abortion rights and gay and lesbian unions. But despite the tangle of thorny issues, Minnesota delegates say they are unified behind Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards in a way that they haven't been in recent years.
Delegates from elsewhere have advice for Minnesota Democrats
In 2000, the Minnesota delegation was seated in the risers as Democrats nominated Vice President Al Gore for the presidency in Los Angeles' Staples Center. This year, Minnesota Democrats have a front-row seat at Boston's Fleet Center. Many factors affect a delegation's seating, but one of them is likely the state's status as a newly-minted battleground state.
Heinz Kerry touts husband's character; Obama wows the delegates
Democrats assailed President Bush's handling of the Iraq war Tuesday night and painted a vivid portrait of John Kerry as a decorated war hero. "He earned his medals the old-fashioned way, by putting his life on the line," Teresa Heinz Kerry told the party's national convention.
Courting the veterans vote
Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Boston are hearing an emphasis on Sen. John Kerry's war record. Convention organizers are hoping to portray Kerry as someone strong on defense. But it may be a tough sell among at least one group of voters -- veterans.
Democrats sell themselves as the party of strength
Democrats have wrestled their message down to one word: strength. A strong economy. Strong community. All under the vision of a strong leader. They can't use the word or its variations enough at their national convention. They used it 106 times in the text of the platform they were adopting in Boston on Tuesday, a document called "Strong at Home: Respected in the World."
Clinton assails Bush, issues call to send Kerry to White House
Bill Clinton stirred the opening night of the Democratic National Convention Monday with a summons to send John Kerry to the White House, accusing President Bush of botching both the economy and the war on terror. "Strength and wisdom are not opposing values," the former president said sarcastically of the man who followed him into office. He said Republicans "need a divided America, but we don't."
Kerry officials push positive spin on tight Midwest races
As the Democratic National Convention officially opened in Boston on Monday, strategists for Sen. John Kerry's campaign in the Midwest attempted to minimize the strong showing in Minnesota polls by President George Bush in a state that historically has been a Democratic stronghold.

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