jesse_jackson_and_al_sharpton*Despite being rivals at times, there is respect among the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Chatting with Politco magazine’s Glenn Thrush on the MSNBC talk show host and his influence among those in the oval office, Jackson referenced Sharpton’s evolution from street preacher to civil rights icon.

“I’ve known Al since he was 12 years old, and he’s arrived at the level he always wanted to arrive at, which is gratifying,” Jackson told Thrush of his colleague. “He’s the man who’s the liaison to the White House, he’s the one who’s talking to the Justice Department.

Jackson’s comments come amid Sharpton’s status among White House officials and President Barack Obama as the go-to person for the inside scoop on matters involving race, particularly the situations in Ferguson and Baltimore. As noted by Thrush, Sharpton has come a long way from his days of being labeled a firebrand in the eyes of past administrations.

“…If the old Al Sharpton would have parachuted into Ferguson to rile up the masses, the Obama-era Al Sharpton trod a more gingerly path to justice. Over the years, the 59-year-old former Brooklyn protest leader turned MSNBC talk-show host has embraced a new identity, one that reflects his evolution from agitator to insider with all that implies,” he stated. “In Ferguson, Sharpton established himself as a de facto contact and conduit for a jittery White House seeking to negotiate a middle ground between meddling and disengagement.”

Thrush goes on to cite various sources, which mentioned that Obama and Sharpton were brought together through “a shared commitment to racial justice, and a hardheaded pragmatism that has fueled their success.”

“He realized I wasn’t as irrational or as crazy as people thought,” Sharpton shared with the journalist recently.

For more of Glenn Thrush’s story on Al Sharpton, click here.