Sharpton close to endorsing
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Al Sharpton said on Thursday that he is getting close to endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primary, but is currently focused on issues facing the country.

The civil rights leader said he's pushing all the candidates to prioritize issues like voting rights and criminal justice reform, and he doesn't want an early endorsement to interfere with his advocacy.


"I'm watching, … but I'm much more concerned that those [issues] are front and center. And then [I'll make] a selection, a personal selection, based on who I think addresses those and the overall problems the country faces," he said.

"In my meetings with both Mrs. Clinton and Sen. Sanders, we've been able to get … [those issues] in the center of the discussion. … It's not all the way where I want it, but it's very, very close.

"So I'm close, but I'm not there yet."

Sharpton said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that the results in Michigan, where Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE won over rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump Fox News poll shows Dems with edge ahead of midterms Poll: Democrats in position to retake the House MORE, show "exactly what my concerns were" with both candidates.

Sharpton's civil rights group, the National Action Network, is hosting a convention in mid-April to commemorate its 25th anniversary. Sharpton said he's hoping both Clinton and Sanders will speak at the event, and he left open the possibility that he would not endorse either candidate before then.

Sharpton was careful not to play his hand, instead ticking off a list strengths and weaknesses he sees in both Democratic contenders.

Sanders's attacks on income inequality and Wall Street corruption, he said, are resonating more with working-class white voters. Clinton, meanwhile, has done much better attracting minorities.

For the Democrats to win the White House, Sharpton argued, they'll need to meld those two strengths into the same candidate.

"The balance is what has to happen, and so far neither candidate has shown enough of that balance," Sharpton said.

Sharpton said he doesn't think Clinton will be indicted in the email scandal, adding that it's possible for Sanders to unite the party.

He also slammed Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE, saying the businessman "championed some of the most biased and bigoted" statements.

Sharpton said Trump could face historic minority turnout in the general election against the billionaire if he is the Republican nominee.

--This report was updated at 11:46 a.m.