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Kissing the Ring: Bernie Sanders Breaks Bread With Al Sharpton


Even after winning big in New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders needs to prove that he can win Democrats in the south, particularly the African-American voters who supported President Obama.

Sanders’ first step was to meet publicly with Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City, and important ring kissing step to spread his appeal.


It’s unclear what Al Sharpton can do to help Sanders appeal with African-Americans, but it’s an important signal that Sanders is eager to be photographed with the prominent organizer and Obama ally.

Hillary Clinton’s argument is that Sanders, an old, white man from Vermont, did fine in New Hampshire, but may have a hard time appealing to African-Americans and Hispanics nationwide.

In a campaign memo last night responding to Sanders’ crushing victory in New Hampshire, Clinton’s Campaign Manager Robby Mook looked ahead to the southern states and explicitly argued that they favored Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton’s ties to both the African American and Hispanic communities run deep,” Mook argued in a memo obtained by PBS. “She’s put minority communities and the issues that matter most to them at the center of her campaign … it’s no mystery why she’s received endorsements from hundreds of key African American and Hispanic elected officials, as well as community and faith leaders across the country.”

Portions of Clinton’s speech in New Hampshire last night were directed at African-Americans and minorities, emphasizing her visit to Flint, Michigan to discuss the lead poisoning in the water on Sunday at a Baptist Church.

“It isn’t right that the kids I met in Flint on Sunday were poisoned because their governor wanted to save money,” she said to supporters last night.

She also explicitly spoke to African-Americans who were worried about their children being profiled.

“We also have to break through the barriers of bigotry,” she said. African-American parents shouldn’t have to worry that their children will be harassed, humiliated, even shot because of the color of their skin.”

She also reminded supporters of her early career at the Children’s Defense Fund, another nod to the African-American vote.

“That’s why I went undercover in Alabama to expose racism in schools. That’s why I worked to reform juvenile justice in South Carolina,” she said. “And that is why I went to Flint, Michigan, on Sunday.”

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