Sleeping With the GOP

A Bush Covert Operative Takes Over Al Sharpton's Campaign

Sharpton and Stone are, in a sense, brothers under the skin, outlandish personalities too large to be bound by the constraints that govern the rest of us. Stone was the registered agent in America for Argentina's intelligence agency, sucking up spy novels; Sharpton was a confidential informant for the FBI, wiring up on black leaders for the feds. Stone is a fashion impersonator, dressing like a hip-hop dandy; Sharpton, having shed his gold medallion and jogger suits, now looks like a smooth banker. Stone was involved in Watergate at the age of 19; Sharpton was a boy-wonder preacher. Stone's mentor from the days of his youth was Roy Cohn; Sharpton's was James Brown. Sharpton is a minister without a church; Stone is almost as rootless, having left the powerhouse Washington firm he helped form years ago. Each reinvents himself daily, if not hourly, as if nothing in their past matters.

For all his brilliance and personal charm, Sharpton's political bombast has always been more spectacle than belief. He is so determined to reach Jesse's heights he's sunk lower than ever, mining black America for Bush's secret agent. He recently ate dinner in a Manhattan restaurant with Stone and found himself sitting opposite former FBI agent Joe Spinelli, who flipped him after picking him up in a mob video sting. All the ironies of his life are coming home to roost, just as he stands in a brighter limelight than he's ever enjoyed. The Rev needs to get some religion.

illustration: Bill Mayer


Post-Debate: Al Sharpton in the Spin Room
The Reverend Fields Oddball Questions From the Press (3 min. 4 sec.)

Related Article:
"Sharpton's Cynical Campaign Choice: Reverend Al Dumps Jesse's Best for Bush's Buddy" by Wayne Barrett

Additional research: Andrew Burtless, Tommy Hallissey, Cristi Hegranes, Brian O'Connor, Abigail Roberts, Catherine Shu, and Jennifer Suh

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