Kennedy Meets With Sharpton In Harlem

This post was written by CBS News producer Karen Raffensperger.

(AP)
Nobody goes to Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem for salad. You go for down home Southern cooking, and that's what Caroline Kennedy did when she ate lunch there today with Al Sharpton. It was a quick meal, including chicken, string beans, collard greens, salad and corn bread, because Sharpton had to get to his radio show.

Sharpton and Kennedy arrived together, and had to push through a crowd of reporters, tourists getting more than they'd bargained for, and a few local residents to get inside. They settled at the same table where Sharpton had lunched with then-Senator Obama, and Sharpton later joked that their lunch was one of the reasons President-elect Obama had won the election. Still cameras were then allowed in for a few shots, followed by video cameras - no sound and no print reporters allowed.

They promised a media availability following lunch, so in order to avoid the mad camera scramble that ensued on their arrival, we set up a location outside with mics and camera positions. As Sharpton and Kennedy exited the restaurant, they walked to the mic stand, where Kennedy smiled and said "Hi everybody" and seemed to be awaiting questions. Just as the first questions flew, Sharpton stepped up to the podium and delivered a statement in which he praised but did not endorse Kennedy, saying he would "trust the governor's judgment to decide what's best for the state."

Following his brief statement, Kennedy took four questions before departing with Sharpton. She says she was inspired during this election year and that "government is the place where people need to come together." She said, "I have quite a bit to learn but I feel like I bring a lot with me as well" and that "this is a time when nobody can afford to sit out...."

She seemed hesitant to get too close to the mics, and spoke in a soft voice that was occasionally drowned out by honking cars and airplane engines. After describing herself as a "Kennedy Democrat," the media avail was ended and they drove off. The entire event - lunch, photo ops and media avail - was over in less than one hour.

Also See: Caroline Kennedy's life in photos.

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