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. David

    I can only hope Jesse Jackson is right. This country has been compromised to many times by our "friends" in the Near East. The entire lobbying cabal needs to be kicked to the Congressional curb and the money traders must be driven from the people's temple.

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Mark

    Ah Jesse! Still trying to make yourself relevant I see.
    Turn in your smart Black guy card. I'm still wondering how you got one in the first place. Talk about a flame out.

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. linda., bella vista, ar

    None of these people speak for Obama for starters.

    And just Imagine if someone did talk first to everyone and find at least a truce if not a reconciliation.

    PS, McCain still thinks Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran is a joke. He's selected a VP running mate who communes with the "Jews for Jesus" folks and has had 'hands on' from a professed witch hunter. Both his wife and daughter have insulted most vets while he has neglected his "brothers" consistently while pursuing personal financial gain.

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. ClintonDem4Cynthia08

    I knew it! I knew he was going to stab Israel in the back. In less than 30 days, expect Obama to demand Israels surrender!


    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. Steve

    Wow, from the comments on this blog, it's very clear that Obama has SO MANY people bamboozled! I suppose you all think he likes the 2nd amendment now too, even though he has a long history of opposing gun ownership (it's all on public record-look it up if you don't believe me).

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. David

    Is CNN this bad at reporting?

    No mention that the NY POST is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the despicable Fox News, and no mention that Taheri is one of the most sleaziest and dishonest columnists in the country. He's been caught in many lies before. Shame on CNN for peddling McCain campaign smears.

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Larry/TX

    Man, I just don't know what to say about Jesse anymore. One thing I know is that he s not a stupid man. I ask myself..how could he not know his comments could be used against barrack, (even though in reality he's not connected to Obama's campaign). But how could he not know this??. I wonder if he's been bought by McCains people to find a "more civil way" of castrating Barrack. Jealousy and greed can be a deadly combination.

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. NB

    McCain you are crossing all the limits. This is disgusting to portray Jessy Jackson as Obams political advicer. We all know that he is jealous .. Did you forget the comments he made about Obama., Shame on you McCain . I can't tell you to grow up you are too old to grow up . So shut up.

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Matt in Michigan

    Don't all muslims hate the Jews? Oh wait I forgot, Obama isn't a muslim, that was made very clear when an interviewer had reminded him he was a Christian after he mentioned his mulim faith.

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Susan

    With Friends like Jesse, WHO NEEDS AN ENEMY?

    Shut you mouth Jackson. You are a past. Let you son speak instead.

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Brookfield Bill

    In this campaign, we have heard much talk about John McCain’s heroism and honor deriving from his very honorable service during the Vietnam War. But let me have the temerity to suggest that living honorably is a continuing and daily challenge for every person, and perhaps even a greater challenge for those seeking or possessing great power and prestige. Once achieved, honor, even great honor, is not immune from later being compromised or even totally squandered. Recall the demise of Vietnam War hero Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

    Recent trends in the McCain-Palin campaign show McCain is compromising much honor with false and misleading attacks on Obama. It is a sad spectacle.

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. susie for Obama

    Anything to make the conversation not about the economy and back on foreign policy and try to be an a.....s.

    Jessie Jackson is jealous of Barack Obama and will say anything to cause problems!!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Jerry Atrick

    N.Y. congresspersons: Rangel, Meeks, Clarke, Sharpton – all Hillary supporters of color who have licked their wounds and not as vociferous as they used to be. Please take a page from their books, mister.

    October 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Random White Person

    McCain is actually a terrorist who will harm relations with everyone. Under a McCain administration the United States will fall and Israel will fall with it.

    Since I am also a white person, this is what McCain will do. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    See how easy that was?

    October 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. JNC, California

    Jesse Jackson is a total disgrace. He is a HATER! Nobody cares what he has to say. Lets focus on Economy. McCain will continue to be the hatemonger that he is until Nov 4th. BAROCK THE VOTE 08!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. Lisa

    Jesse Jackson has been weird in every interview he's given on Obama and the election that I have seen. He says nothing of importance or relevance and it just seems like confused gab. He's either aging not so gracefully or supremely jealous of Obama and out to secretly get him. To say this nonsense just days before the election when the Jewish vote is in limbo seems more than bizarre – more like intentional sabotage. Or, maybe as one poster said, Jackson is used to no one ever listening to him. Funny how Repubs want to give him credence now! This is such a non-story it is unbelievable!

    October 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. James

    Because Jesse Jackson is black and a Democrat, Obama is held accountable to his comments? I really don't understand this McCain campaign at all. I didn't think it was possible to run a worse campaign than Gore did 8 years ago, but I've been proven wrong.

    October 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Rich

    I imagine that the man who said he'd rip off Obama's manhood is not going to be his foreign policy advisor. Ahem.

    October 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. CAL

    Are you serious? How in the world can Obama be held accountable for what Jackson said? come on CNN why in the hell are you even printing this mess?


    October 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    Isreal is an alley of ours and always will be no matter whos in there as President. The congress, legislature is what really runs this country. The President goes to meetings and Vetos. Congress my friends......

    October 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Strong Hillary supporter

    My fear is if OBAMA "That one"get elected...
    My fear is also if OBAMA "Not that One" does not get elected.

    October 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Sgt13Echo

    Hey mgb408,

    Then why does the Obama campaign try to tie the McCain campaign with the Bush Administration? That's so 2008.............

    October 15, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. 52 yr. old white Houston oil man

    Hey Texas Trail Dog, if your so hung up on adulterers look no further than John McCain. And I guess unmarried teen pregnancy is OK with you.

    October 15, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Jean

    Obama does not care about Isreal and he does not fundamentally care about Christianity (as he himself said since 2006).

    Christians are being hunted in Iraq right now and with Obama in office Christians will begin having problems here in the US also.

    October 15, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. Lara

    Everyone knows by now that Jesse Jackson does not support Senator Obama. Even Mr. Jacksons own son repremanded him for his last comment regarding the Senator. We all know that Senator Obama is Pro-Isreal and he would never do anything to endanger this country. The Republicans and Mr. McCain need to stop these childish statments and stick to the issues at hand. You know like the ECONOMY!

    October 15, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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