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Clinton, Obama Speak At Sharpton Convention

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Senator Barack Obama says the Reverend Al Sharpton helped lay the foundation for Obama's presidential run.

Speaking at Sharpton's National Action Network annual convention in Midtown Saturday afternoon, Obama made a direct appeal for votes from the black community, reminding the audience about his work on healthcare reform and education.

"If there is somebody who has been more on the forefront on behalf of the issues that you care about and has more concrete accomplishment on behalf of the things you’re concerned about, then I am happy to see you endorse them; I am happy to see you support them,” he said. “But I am absolutely confident that you will not find that, because there is nobody who has stood fast on these issues more consistently each and every day, then I have. That is something that I know."

There's been much speculation about Sharpton's relationship with Obama. Sharpton has said the senator does not have a free pass with the black community in this race and was keeping his cards close to his chest.

"There's no leaning going in to this,” said Sharpton. “All of them had something good to say and we're going to assess it."

The NAN convention has been dubbed the "Sharpton Primary," as a who's who of democratic presidential candidates have appeared hoping to nab Sharpton's endorsement.

Obama's appearance follows that of his closest rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Clinton, who spoke at the convention Friday.

She spoke about a range of issues from Iraq to health care but saved her strongest words for President Bush, ripping his administration for what she called abuses of power.

"When I walk into the oval office in January of 2009, I'm afraid I'm going to lift up the rug and I'm going to see so much stuff under there,” she said. “What is it about us always having to clean up after people? But this is not just going to be picking up socks of the floor."

Earlier in the day Clinton spoke at Rutgers University and met privately with women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer over radio host Don Imus' controversial comments about the team.

Sharpton says he will make a decision on who to endorse in the next couple of days and to expect a public announcement in weeks. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP