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Al Sharpton has sharp words for both Hillary and Bill Clinton

August 26, 2008 |  2:42 pm

Rev. Al is not happy with the Clintons.

With the Democratic National Convention abuzz with anticipation over Hillary Clinton’s speech to it tonight, civil rights activist Al Sharpton says she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, cannot afford anything less than an extraordinary effort to help Barack Obama’s preAl Sharpton has words for Hillary Clintonsidential candidacy -– beginning this week with an intensified push for party loyalty.

Otherwise, Sharpton warned today, their reputations within the party -- once sterling -- could be permanently tarnished.

“It can damage their legacy in the long run if they don’t get a grip pretty quick,” Sharpton told The Times.

Sharpton’s comments came as many leading Democrats attempt to tamp down reports of festering tensions between the Clinton and Obama camps -- and a definite reluctance among some Clinton delegates to stand foursquare behind Obama.

Some African American delegates in recent days have complained that the Clintons are giving only lip service in saying they will help Obama, and that they are actually more interested in helping Hillary Clinton plot her next political moves.

As it is, Sharpton added, the racially tinged primary campaign has already hurt the once-tight relationship between the Clintons and black America.

“I’d like to see them in the trenches,” Sharpton said. “They did a lot of damage against him, so they’re going to have to do a lot more than the ordinary for him -– not (just) for him but for the public to believe them.”

-- Peter Wallsten

Photo credit: Greenfield-Sanders / HBO

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