Al Sharpton, Jr.,
controversial civil rights activist and minister, ran a long-shot campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sharpton was an outspoken critic of President Bush—and the other Democratic candidates, daring to utter blunt one-liners that the other candidates largely avoided. On Howard Dean's frightening howl after losing the Iowa caucuses, Sharpton said, “I wanted to say to Governor Dean, don't be hard on yourself about hooting and hollering. If I had spent the money you did and got 18%, I'd still be in Iowa hooting and hollering.” And on President Bush, he quipped, “We've read Bush's lips. They lied.” His campaign, however, failed to raise significant funds and lacked organizational structure. In addition, black voters, his assumed base of support, never rallied around his campaign.