Al Sharpton: I want to do exactly what Glenn Beck did

Everybody wants to be on Sharpton’s good side these days. No fewer than five Cabinet officers and a senior White House official went to this year’s convention to kiss his ring. President Obama spoke at last year’s conference and has sought Sharpton’s advice on policy. Sharpton has a show on MSNBC five nights a week, and he doles out airtime to a procession of politicians and journalists (including me)…

On Thursday, the day after his most visible career triumph, Sharpton worked the ballroom at Washington’s convention center, grinning for photographs. Opening up for his breakfast speaker, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Sharpton regaled the crowd with a story of how Obama invited him and Newt Gingrich to the Oval Office and asked them to launch a five-city tour promoting education reform. When Duncan took the microphone, he requested “a huge round of applause for our leader, Reverend Al Sharpton.”

The reverend is basking in the applause. “I was born with Broadway lights as a backdrop,” Sharpton told me. His model is less Jesse Jackson than it is Glenn Beck. Sharpton told me he’s aiming to do “exactly what Beck did,” using his media platform to rally people.