October 15th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain campaign targets Jesse Jackson comments

Jackson is a supporter of Barack Obama.

Jackson is a supporter of Barack Obama.

(CNN) - The McCain campaign is targeting Barack Obama over recent comments from the Rev. Jesse Jackson suggesting the Illinois senator would fundamentally change U.S. policy toward Israel.

"It should not surprise anyone that Obama’s supporters see what others, from the terrorist group Hamas to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, have seen: an Obama presidency would bring real change to America’s policy of support for Israel," said McCain senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann.

Jackson's comments came at the World Policy Forum in Evian, France last week and were quoted Tuesday by New York Post columnist Amir Taheri.   According to Taheri, Jackson reportedly said that under an Obama administration, the "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" will come to an end and as would America's policy of "of putting Israel's interests first."

"Obama is about change," Jackson said. "And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it."

Officials from the Obama campaign immediately distanced themselves from the comments, noting Jackson is not an adviser to the campaign and does not speak for the Illinois senator.

"As he has made clear throughout his career and throughout this campaign, Barack Obama has a fundamental commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, and he is advised by people like Dennis Ross, Daniel Kurtzer, Rep. Robert Wexler, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Senator Joe Biden who share that commitment," Obama national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said in a statement.

But the McCain campaign, who has long sought to portray Obama as naïve when it comes to foreign affairs and capitalize on the fact some Jewish voters have yet to warm to the Democratic presidential nominee, said Jackson's comment is telling of the kind of foreign policy Obama would pursue.

"Barack Obama expressed support for Jerusalem being the undivided capital of Israel and switched his position 24 hours later in the face of criticism from Palestinians," Scheunemann said. "Barack Obama has said it is a 'disgrace' that the United States has not met unconditionally with leaders committed to Israel’s destruction. Now, Barack Obama claims to be a strong supporter of Israel but his supporters - here and abroad - know better."

soundoff (464 Responses)
  1. Tom

    Jesse Jackson has never gotten over the fact that there is a new leadership and stewardship of people of color. His utterances, as evidenced by his whisper in a hot microphone recently, and his current showmanship as an insider, is just another sign of a search for attention!! Anyone who thinks that Mr. Obama and Mr. Jackson think alike on any given issue is giving too much credit for Mr. Jackson and not enough to Mr. Obama !!!

    October 15, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. JMJ

    I supported Rev. Jackson and his views during his run for President and continue to do so on civil rights issues but his latest series of comments baffels me on his support of Obama. His remarks just don't sound consistent with those views by the Obama campaign and frankly his comments sound quite contrary.I understand even the comments that Rev. Jackson and others took offense to but if you think about it he was speaking to the audience that he was exposed to which was predominatinly African American. If you are an Obama supporter your rhetoric and speech should be postive espcially when you have such a national platfrom as Rev. Jackson.I think Obama has been quite clear on his foriegn policy concerning Israel any other comment or speculation is a distraction from the obvious.

    October 15, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Obama 08: white, female, 60 yr old supporter

    McCain is always targeting somebody instead of targeting the issues.

    October 15, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Josh

    What the heck is wrong with Jackson? It's like he's trying to hurt Obama

    October 15, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Debra Austin, Texas

    Jesse Jackson is an idiot and a jealous one at that. He has been a lukewarm supporter of Obama at best. He doesn't agree on Israel with Obama and he thinks he has not been given enough credit for the opened doors to another Black's success. Sorry Jesse, Obama did this mostly on his own because your politics represent the divisive politics that this country still doesn't buy.

    Jesse Jackson has a big ego and can't believe he's not the young stud anymore. Sad thing is, he never was.

    October 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. KJ

    Fair enough that CNN reports this. But CNN should also make headlines out of the crazy things that McCain/Palin (especially Palin) supporters say once they have a microphone in their face. In a nutshell, if CNN wants to report on silly stories (and the Political Ticker today is full of them), CNN ought to at least post equally silly stories from both sides.

    On a more serious note, when will CNN do a story about the Palins' ties to the Alaska Independence Party in Alaska? The American People have a right to know if either Sarah or Todd (given his influence/access to her work) ever supported secession of Alaska.

    October 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. M. Bryan

    Clutching at straws and coming up with blanks.
    What a shame!

    October 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Nola

    I could care less about what J. Jackson has to say – what I do Want to know is WHY did CNN stop the report on AIP – Todd Palain and MS Sarah – the person that has never ever be around racials- This is the organization that wants Alaska to no longer be part of this United States. This an organization that Todd was a member – this is an organization that Ms. Sarah gave a welcome address at their conference. SO CNN Please provide us the story – you have reported everything about Obama – even when their is no substance.

    October 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. rodlang

    Um, Jesse Jackson is not part of Obama campaign. He happens to be African American. McCain are you saying that all Black people speak for Obama? Not only is that premise racist, it reeks of desparation…

    Polls show that Barack will get 98% of the black vote so McCain is right. When it comes to Barack, all (98%) of black people do speak for him.

    October 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. dave

    I think it's fair to say when any black guy says Obama will do something as president it must be true. I mean, they're both black. What more do you people want?

    On the same note, there was a white guy that said McCain will start WW3 if he's elected president. I wonder why there's no news story on that?

    October 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. am

    Just because the guy is black doesn't mean Barack and Jesse are on the same page. Just look at what Jesse said about Barack when he thought the mic was turned off! MCCain is an idiot, more fear mongering and attacks!

    October 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Craig Nazor

    This is how issues get polarized. It is possible to support Israel and to support justice for the Palestinian people and peace for the Middle East, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. McCain's attack is essentially saying "you can't, it's one or the other". This idea is wrong, but it creates its own negative reality if leaders share it because works against peace. But if McCain can use it to scare Jewish-American voters, than he wins the Presidency but delays peace for the Middle East once again. This is the same tactic George W. Bush has used for the last 8 years, and look where it has gotten us....


    October 15, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Beth from Virginia

    Why can't McCain let Obama speak for himself!! For crying out loud – stop taking Barak Obama to task for every word that comes out of supporters' mouths.

    October 15, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Bill NY

    Jesse needs to wake up and realize that he is out of the loop and keep his mouth shut. I believe that he is so jealous that Obama is not breaking a sweat doing what he could never hope to achieve that he would try to sabotage Obama at every turn. He is and always was a lightweight. Someone needs to cut(Argh!) Jesse's you know what off!

    October 15, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. thomas

    Considering that Israel is the only democracy in the region, I don't think they have much to worry about.

    October 15, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Kim

    Ah geeze, shut up already.

    Independent voter now voting for Obama because of things like this. Geeze.

    October 15, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Stone

    I was a strong supporter of Obama until I started actually looking into some of the things being said about this man. Is America really prepared to take a chance on someone who could possibly have a hidden agenda. I mean all we have is this man's word stacked up against facts about his background. TO RISKY to take a chance in my book. Use the "what if" factor for both candidates. I think I'll go with a man who has a history of fighting for America vs. the one who has affiliated himself to people who want to destroy or take over this great nation.

    McCain/Palin 08'

    October 15, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. michael in MO

    Obama and his followers are an absolute disgrace to our democratic way of life. Go overseas, and anyone who you ask will be laughing at us – "Why of such a pool of candidates in the democratic primaries do you pick this Obama character?" they ask. "Where is Senator Clinton? It was a no-brainer, and you smear her?" No question, it's in the bag for Obama because he sells well for the media – always has, and the media market is banking on it. That’s why "he won the debate." Yea right. Those who buy into this circus are being SO played. And that is why those who actually do their research on behalf of our country's future are voting for McCain.

    October 15, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. tired of delusional blind sheep

    now why again are americans so in love with israel ... let me guess.. it has something to do with religion.. lol.. the rights unwavering support of israel is not always in the best interest of the secular united states of america... we have enough problems within our border, that maybe we should be focusing our attention inward, instead of always poking our heads in the middle of thousand year religious wars in the most volatile region of the world..

    seperation of church and state..

    October 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Houston

    And what does this have to do with the economy? McCain is always trying to change the subject. Can he at least talk about the economy.

    October 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. HM

    Why is everyone surprised. Many people, even those on the GOP side, feel Obama is basically a decent man. The problem, however, stems from the views of his supporting cast. Ayers, Jackson, Wright, Pelosi, Streisand, etc. When you hear people like that lining up for BO, you naturally gravitate away from him. No surprise.

    October 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. CAL

    texas trail dog

    Your comments tells it all about you, IDIOT!! It's people like you that needs education, it's people like you that have no clue about this election or the future of this country. I'm surprise that you can spell with the level of intellengence you display in all of your comments.

    SHUT UP!!!!!!!!


    October 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. BM

    Jesse Jackson never accomplished what he had hoped to. Just watching and listening to him talk is a turn off. Had he run against McCain, I would surely have voted for McCain as much as I would have had to hold my nose, They both are pathetic creatures! Sounds like he is really jealous of Obama, so much that he wants to castrate him. How low can you go? He is even worse than McCain/Palin. Never liked Jesse Jackson. He rode on the heels of Martin Luther King to get what little fame he got.

    October 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Amazing! For the first time in my life, I actually agree with Jesse Jackson!

    What has Israel ever done for us? And even they ever have done anything other than stir up trouble, was it worth the billions of dollars we've wasted on the country?

    Israel's all grown up now. It's time for them to suffer the consequences of their own actions and stop hiding behind the U.S.

    October 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. PD Thomas

    Jesse much like McCain and Palin is fighting to be relevant. As he has no affiliation to the campaign this is in way a tie to Obama. This desperation is getting old...

    October 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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