National Al Sharpton vs. Tavis Smiley on Black Agenda Max Fisher Feb 24, 2010 This article is from the archive of our partner .Civil rights leader Al Sharpton supports President Obama. PBS and public radio host Tavis Smiley supports President Obama. But who supports Obama more? That's the subject of a 20-minute debate that erupted when Smiley called into Sharpton's radio program. The debate was heated and highly personal. "Don't talk to us like we're stupid, Tavis," Sharpton said. "Don't love me and distort me." He added, "I would've hoped that we could do this in private, but since you attacked me on national radio this morning, I answered on the radio."Beneath the personal acrimony, there is a substantive debate on whether Obama has a "black agenda" (that is, a set of policy goals geared toward African-Americans), whether he should, and what role Sharpton himself plays in shaping it. Tavis Smiley raises the question of whether Obama should be asked to focus more on the black community "given that black folk are getting crushed."(Bonus: Sharpton takes a shot at Glenn Beck about 11 minutes in.)This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com. Max Fisher is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.