The Note

The Boston Globe has a fascinating piece on the potential political power of hip-hop.

"That love could blossom if the hip-hop community becomes a political force. But before this group becomes the 21st-century version of the soccer moms politicians courted in the 1990s, local organizing committees must develop, and community organizations have to participate." LINK

The Washington Post 's piece on the candidates' books has a great excerpt from "Al on America" — a story about James Brown. LINK

The AP's Chaka Ferguson tells Sharpton's life story. LINK

The National Review Online knits all of Sharpton's criticisms into one tight, artistic package.

"Fringe candidates can have their place. Ralph Nader added something to the 2000 election. But Sharpton has no memorable policy proposals, no distinctive ideological position, nothing but himself and his resume."LINK

From ABC News' Sharpton campaign reporter Beth Loyd:

Rev. Sharpton's campaign schedule has dwindled to non-existent this week as he rehearsals for his "Saturday Night Live" debut.

And it's not a done deal, but Sharpton may send a surrogate to the Florida State Democratic convention on Saturday, since the jaunt to Florida would cut it too close to showtime. It's odd. Reverend Sharpton missed one debate completely, was late to another, landed in Des Moines 30 minutes prior to the last debate … but "SNL" trumps a State Democratic convention.

On the cash front, the campaign expects to collect a check for $100,000 in the first installment of public matching funds. Campaign manager Charles Halloran says much of this will be used to pay outstanding debts — including the money owed to Frank Watkins. So, Frank … the check is in the mail.

Read more from the trail with Sharpton on abcnews.com: LINK

Moseley Braun:

From ABC News' Moseley Braun campaign reporter Monica Ackerman:

At Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill, Tuesday, an African-American man in the audience disrupted what had been a low-key campaign stop when he told Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun that she and Rev. Sharpton had betrayed voters.

"Both you and Sharpton strongly support gay marriage and partial birth abortion," he said. "You two have betrayed voters like myself who have always supported you. I know for a fact that if you make gay marriage legal, there won't be a single African-American church that will marry them."

Moseley Braun and Sharpton have both called gay marriage a civil rights issue, likening it to interracial marriages that used to be illegal. Moseley Braun responded that for her, the issue is guided by the same kind of philosophy that freed African-Americans from slavery. Before handlers asked him to step aside, the man stood up with a picture of his family, pointing out that his wife is white and saying he was offended that she would compare his family to a homosexual union.

Read more from the trail with Moseley Braun on abcnews.com: LINK

Nader:

Nick Anderson of the Los Angeles Times explores the latest Nader movements.

LINK

"Theresa Amato, Nader's 2000 campaign manager and a director of his new committee, said Nader expected to make a decision by early next year."

"'Calls are being made,' Amato said. 'A fund-raising effort has just started for the purpose of testing the waters.'"

Iowa:

The AP reports that according to a poll released Tuesday night, Dean and Gephardt are continuing to battle for the lead in Iowa. LINK

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