Sleeping with the GOP

A Republican effort to suppress the black vote may be linked to black preacher Al Sharpton's campaign in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. Sharpton has postured as a radical firebrand, accusing other Democratic candidates such as Howard Dean of racial bias. According to reporter Wayne Barrett, "Roger Stone, the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make George W. Bush president in 2000, is financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton. ... Sharpton has a little-noticed history of Republican machinations inconsistent with his fiery rhetoric. ... [A]ny Sharpton-connected outrage against the party could either lower black turnout in several key close states, or move votes to Bush." Stone conceded to the New York Times that he had been behind several of Sharpton's most visible campaign tactics, including scrutiny of Dean's record of minority appointees when he was governor of Vermont.