Reverend Sharpton campaigns today in Raleigh, North Carolina. Tonight, he heads to Martha's Vineyard for a fundraiser at Spike Lee's house. That's not to be confused with any Spike TV parties happening on Martha's Vineyard tonight. On Saturday, Reverend Sharpton is in Chicago for the Bud Billiken Parade. On Sunday, he heads to Johnsonville, South Carolina, for services at the Chapel Holiness Church.
Governor Dean and Ambassador Braun have no public events announced for today or the weekend.
On Monday, the Sheet Metal Workers union holds a presidential candidate forum at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center. All Democratic candidates except Senator Edwards have confirmed their attendance. CNN's Bill Press will moderate.
The rest of the political world, in other news:
1. Huge 527 News: "Labor, environmental and women's organizations, with strong backing from international financier George Soros, have joined forces behind a new political group that plans to spend an unprecedented $75 million to mobilize voters to defeat President Bush in 2004." LINK It's called "America Coming Together(ACT)."
The New York Times 's story lists several prominent Dem. activists as founders. LINK. Steve Rosenthal will be the CEO. This is separate from — but will coordinate with — "America Votes," which will do TV ads.
ACT Spokesman Gretchen Wright tells ABC News: "They're putting staff together now, so, by mid-September, they'll be ready to go into field." Look for a big fundraising drive in September, too.
The two big stories of this election cycle may well be the unprecedented message coordination among Dems (if it works) and the enormous fundraising machine of President Bush.
2. The Dean folks, who claim not care about ticks in the polls, are un-self-consciously touting the USA Today /Gallup numbers showing them tied with Gephardt for second place — behind Lieberman but ahead of Kerry. LINK; the campaign picked up Democratic strategist Andi Pringle yesterday.
She'll serve as deputy campaign manager; aside from her raw political talents, which the Dean campaign touts, in the blunt calculus of Democratic identity politics, Pringle may help the Dean campaign overcome a perception that it's too white.
Pringle has worked as the NAACP's communications director; served as Carol Moseley Braun's campaign manager; and has lots of experience working with grassroots minority/liberal coalitions. Meanwhile, Congressman Dennis Kucinich joined on the Dean's-a-centrist bandwagon. LINK
3. The Washington Post 's Connolly says Kerry may have puffed up the health care rating given to him by National Journal's health care experts. But "Kerry aides … say the claim results from simple math. They took a set of scores compiled by National Journal magazine on July 19 and tallied them." "Kerry policy adviser Sarah Bianchi noted that Gephardt has bragged about the categories in which he scored well. 'We're both showing the data in a way that makes our best case,' she said." LINK
Kerry spokesman Robert Gibbs told us, "The 10 experts representing the full range of political viewpoints rated the plans in a series of issues that have made health care a crisis in America. The scores ranged from 1 to 5 — 5 being 'the best.'"
The Kerry campaign just added the scores, Gibbs said in an e-mail. "There is simply no mention in the piece about weighting things differently."