Barack Obama speaks in Manhattan
(New York - WABC, April 21, 2007) (WABC) -- Democratic presidential candidates looking to woo black voters are making a pit stop here in New York to make their case before the Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network.
Friday, it was Hillary Clinton and Saturday, Barack Obama took center stage.
Eyewitness News reporter Stacy Sager has more.
He came here to prove himself to black voters and certainly to Reverend Al Sharpton. Democrat Barack Obama didn't try to hide it. Even drew some laughs as he admitted the stiff competition from rival democrat Hillary Clinton. It was only minutes into Obama's speech when he heard the hum of a blackberry beneath the podium.
"Oh, that's somebody's blackberry. That's Sharpton's blackberry," said presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. "Is that Hillary calling??"
The crowd appreciated his candor. And recent polls show that black voters are finding him more and more inspirational, reducing Clinton's once favorable lead among African Americans.
Obama wasted no time highlighting some of the issues that matter most. Addressing Sharpton directly, he spoke of reform in the criminal justice system.
"I passed the first law requiring that we monitor racial profiling in Illinois..," said Sen. Obama.
He also spoke about the economy and the war in Iraq. Still, Obama did stumble when he used an incorrect name twice for Sharpton's National Action Network. The crowd corrected him.
As for Sharpton, who attempted his own presidential run in 2004, there has been no endorsement of any candidate, at least not yet. In fact, some have suggested downright tension.
"I think it's more asking questions and wanting answers," said Rev. Al Sharpton. "I wouldn't define it as tension."
But the real question is what the voters thought. After all, a lot of them were here just one day ago when Senator Hillary Clinton addressed the same crowd.
One of voters, Regina McCurry said Sen. Obama did win her vote.
"I'm still deciding," other voter Pachuska Vil said. "I'm still in win-win, with Hillary, with Obama."
Reverend Sharpton is finding himself in the same situation. He tells Eyewitness News he's likely to endorse someone in the coming weeks.
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