It might be the oddest political pairing of the year. Barack Obama, whose campaign for president carefully avoided race-based political appeals, is teaming up with the man who practically perfected them: the Rev. Al Sharpton.
This double-take moment camelast month, with Sharpton holding court with reporters at the White House, fresh out of an Oval Office meeting with Obama in his role as co-founder of the bipartisan Education Equality Project.
So far, Sharpton has been to the White House more times, and for more close-up conversations with Obama, than the leaders of other long-established civil rights organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and theUrban League.
And in April, Vice President Joe Biden addressed the annualconventionof Sharpton’s group, the National Action Network, in New York.