Democratic presidential contenders are scrambling for support in what's being dubbed the Al Sharpton primary. The civil rights leader livened up the 2004 Democratic primary with his pompadour hairdo and sharp, witty oratory. This election, the high-profile Sharpton, fresh from the fight over Don Imus' derogatory remarks, is attracting all the party's major candidates this week for his annual National Action Network convention.
The solid attendance - starting with John Edwards on Wednesday and continuing with Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama later this week - reflects Sharpton's prominence in the party, concern that he might run again and the Democrats' effort to appeal to the base, particularly black voters.