They are prodigious:

So far, Sharpton has been to the White House more times, and for more close-up conversations with Obama, than the leaders of other long-established civil rights organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Urban League.

And in April, Vice President Joe Biden addressed the annual convention of Sharpton's group, the National Action Network, in New York.

Now the Department of Education is making plans for Sharpton to join Secretary Arne Duncan on a five-city tour this fall -- an idea that Duncan's aides say came directly from the White House after the Oval Office meeting.

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