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(CBS News) — Say “Al Sharpton” and most people probably think loud mouth activist and provocateur. That certainly was his image in the 1980s and 90s.  Well, the Reverend Al has gone through something of a metamorphosis: today he’s down right tame. So much so, that he has made his way into the establishment.  It’s been quite a trajectory: from street-protest agitator, to candidate for president in 2004, to now a trusted White House adviser who has become the president’s go-to black leader campaigning around the country for President Obama and his agenda.  Today, Sharpton looks and sounds like a totally different person.  But 20 years ago in New York, Sharpton, hot-headed in his jogging suits and larger than life in every way, was spreading hate and dividing the city. “No justice, no peace!” he shouted at one protest.  But today, Sharpton – 83 pounds slimmer and looking stately in his tailored suits – is commanding a national stage.  Not only does Sharpton travel to see the president, the president travels to see him.  In April, President Obama was a keynote speaker at Sharpton’s civil rights organization, the National Action Network’s 20th anniversary fundraiser in New York.  This presidential endorsement — this validation — is acknowledgement of Sharpton’s influence with the president’s African American base.

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