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Sharpton announces presidential bid committee

Rev. Al Sharpton said he is committed to running for president in 2004
Rev. Al Sharpton said he is committed to running for president in 2004 "if it is feasible."  


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist, announced Monday he will form a committee to explore a possible bid for the presidency in 2004.

Sharpton, who made the announcement at the Washington Press Club, said he had asked Dr. Cornel West of Harvard University to convene the exploratory committee by November to "seriously look at a strategy that would lead toward making sure the unheard and the unnoticed are both heard and paid attention to."

Sharpton expressed alarm at what he says is a rightward shift in the Democratic Party.

"There are those in the Democratic Party who have driven the party further and further to the right in the name of a winning strategy," Sharpton said. "And it seems that it is their presumption that the only way to be electable is that progressive forces and people of color must voluntarily turn into invisible people."

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Sharpton's two announcements (August 20)

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Sharpton also mentioned the alleged disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida during the 2000 presidential election. Sharpton filed a civil rights lawsuit after the disputed contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

Sharpton has never held public office. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1992 and 1994 and for mayor of New York City in 1997.

Also Monday, Sharpton announced that his National Action Network will hold a march and rally outside the United Nations on Saturday. Sharpton said the rally would focus on the U.S. Navy exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, racial profiling by law enforcement in the United States and international race issues.

Sharpton was released from jail in New York on Friday after serving 87 days for protesting the Navy's bombing exercises on Vieques.






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