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. AIB

    Making this something news wrothy is stupidity. CNN does not have to report something else. CNN is the place of gossip

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Jerry in Boston

    Erm, so should we take every comment by Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity and attribute it to the official McCain campaign?

    Or perhaps it's because Jackson is black and as we all know, all black people are a big amorphous blob that think and say exactly the same things.

    The McCain campaign is just beyond belief stupid.

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Missy

    Once again Obama is blamed for someone else's comments. Maybe Palin will blame HIM for global warming next. Oh, I forgot. She doesn't think it's a problem generated by man. She may blame him anyway. Seems anything goes now.

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Jack Black

    Okay...McSame an old 72 year old Ex-con (prisinor of war) a prisinor is still a prisinor by Republicans stardard. (correct)......and Sara Annie Oakly shooting helpless mooses...along with drinking, lying, thieving abusive power pimp my kids out for a vote....how low can you go...oh and how about first dude..an extremist wanna a be INDEPENDENT..from America....these are our republicans choices...I'm staying home...no on second thoughts I'll vote OBAMA..a real family man and decent christian...

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Dave From Philly


    Obama gave the best answer to the question any candidate should have giving. If Isreal attacks another country and that country then attacks Isreal, then why should the United States defend Isreal?

    Know if another country attacks Isreal first, then the United States should defend Isreal. If you can understand my statement, you can understand why Obama answer the question the way he did.

    So Jessie Jackosn is now Sen. Obama's adviser. Interest considering he wanted to cut his head off a few months ago. Jackson has no connection to Obama.

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. WhiteWomenforObama'08

    Jesse Jackson doesn't speak for Barak Obama.
    However, Palin does speak for McCain and she said on CBS that we wouldn't question and support ANYTHING that Isreal did. These are two opposite ends of the spectrum, but the difference is one is a VP candidate and one is irrelevent to the United States

    I hope McCain brings this up tonight along with Ayers and Acorn and all the rest.

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. Dee

    Hey John McCain,

    Why dont you tell us more about how observant you were to a wife addicted to drugs and writing scripts. Any other person would have been put behind bars if they did what Cindy did. Why dont you focus on what Obama says and not what Jesse says.

    Tell me something more about your plans than the fact that you are a vet. Being a vet does not in and of it self make you any more qualified to be President than someone who is not a vet.

    Give me DETAILS on how you would make this country better. Quit saying" I already know how to fix that my friends" If you know how to fix all these items, THEN WHY HAVENT YOU?

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. Seattle has the Bluest Skys

    Then this means that Randy Scheunemann speaking for Mccain and are all supporters therefore responsible for anything Palin , Todd , Bush,Cheney ,Rove ,Gramm,Lieberman, do ,say , have done now or in the past.?

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Barnhardt in NC

    Let's go ahead and tar McCain with every word Gordon Liddy and Sean Hannity croak on their shows. The possibilities are endless if you simply disband all sense of logic and get desparate!

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |

    I think Jesse may have lost his marbles. Someone please sit him down and calm him. Stop hating on Obama. You of all people should know the struggles of people with a darker pigmentation in trying to achieve anything in this country. Don't hinder the man, help him. Finally we have another canidate who truly cares about ALL people. Relish this fact and embrace it. IT'S TIME FOR THE PEOPLE TO TAKE BACK WASHINGTON AND MAKE THIS COUNTRY WORK FOR ALL AMERICANS.

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Tommy

    Another McAmbush tactic. He and his campaign are just PATHETIC!

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Patricia

    I think initially that Obama thought he could initiate nogotiations between the Israelites and Palestinians over Jerusalem, but later decided that he should be taking a strong pro-Israel stance on that as that is what the US has agreed to, and what Israel is expecting. I believe he will do that, but I also believe he is going to try to talk sense with the Palestinians. Only God knows how far those talks would go, but he does have a talent for listening and getting people to think. With good advisors around him, I think we can trust that he would do as well as McCain if not better because he is so level headed and sees the big picture better.

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. UPENN Student Woman of color was for Hillery NOW FOR OBAMA!

    PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE! This is the same man who suggested castrating Senator Obama! Does it really matter what this man say after that! And as for his pull with the black community.... speaking as a card carrying member of set group i can tell you that one of the greatest things about Senator Obama is HOW LITTLE he agrees with Jackson. This man (Jackson) thinks because he was in the presents of greatness (Dr. King) that he has any relevance today! I have never respected this man. But i guess in a campaign where the supporters have been yelling KiLL HIM and OFF with his HEAD in regards to Obama... then yes i can see why now a man who suggested castration is on their good side! THINK BEFORE YOU VOTE !

    October 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Lisa

    You liberals are so hypocritical. Jesse Jackson makes a statement. Someone asks the McCain campaign for a response. They give one. Now all of a sudden there's something wrong with answering a question? Would you be happier if everytime a reporter asked a question the McCain camp said 'nope, sorry, I don't know what I think about that and even if I did I wouldn't tell you'? All you can do is scream about how the Republicans don't answer questions. When they do answer, you scream about how it's not the answer you wanted. Be mad at the reporter who asked the question, not at the person who gave the answer. If McCain would have said "Jesse Jackson is a lunatic who doesn't speak for Obama and I could care less what he thinks", people would be throwing a fit too.

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Bruce

    McCain better check into Palin's AIP connection They really hate Jews and America. She really pals around with them

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Rachael - Ft. Lauderdale

    At this point I cannot understand why McCain insist on trying to tie every negative thing, comment or action done by someone else to Barack Obama. If you didn't hear it come from him directly then have the common sense to take it for what it is which majority of the time is half truths or comments stretched into something they weren't meant to be.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Dempublican

    When did Jesse Jackson become a spokesman for Obama? He is a nobody who wants to castrate Obama, and now impersonates as having influence in the Obama Campaign.

    The likes of Jesse Jackson should just shut their big mouths and learn from the new breed of African American leaders who, while in appreciation of the sacrifices of the generations before them, see America and the world through the prism of equality and opportunity for all, devoid of racial, cultural, cultural and national bigotry.

    Jesse Jackson only needs to revist his history to learn that Jews and Africans and African Americans share an abiding commonality in their individual struggles for survival - a history that Barack Obama referenced in his "Race Speech" in Philadelphia during the primaries.

    And for John McCain to pounce on Obama for a baldheaded statement made by Jesse Jackson demonstrates the shallowness of his understanding of these complex issues, and a clear indication of the McCain Campaign's desperation to unabashfully veer toward the banality of our political discourse, even against the backdrop of pressing economic imperatives.

    But why are we surprised? Oh, are we?

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. mike

    I don't know how Jews can vote for Obama ?.

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. BM

    He was so not important, I don't really remember him trying to run for president or was that president of the illegitimate daddy of the year?

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. MissouriMom

    William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team, aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime.

    The two lobbyists who Timmons worked closely with over a five year period on the lobbying campaign later either pleaded guilty to or were convicted of federal criminal charges that they had acted as unregistered agents of Saddam Hussein's government.

    During the same period beginning in 1992, Timmons worked closely with the two lobbyists, Samir Vincent and Tongsun Park, on a previously unreported prospective deal with the Iraqis in which they hoped to be awarded a contract to purchase and resell Iraqi oil. Timmons, Vincent, and Park stood to share at least $45 million if the business deal went through.

    Timmons' activities occurred in the years following the first Gulf War, when Washington considered Iraq to be a rogue enemy state and a sponsor of terrorism. His dealings on behalf of the deceased Iraqi leader stand in stark contrast to the views his current employer held at the time.

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. K.L. Watson

    Jessie Jackson no more speaks for Obama or the black race as a whole than I do. In fact I proably speak MORE for Obama than Jessie does.
    This is sick and disgusting on the part of the McSame/Falin rethugs who can't win any other way than trashing someone

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Dan

    McCain will try anything to destroy Obama. He's playing dirty and ruining his reputation. So far the negative efforts have failed, so I suspect this one two.
    McCain is showing he has no integrity.

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Sarah Palin is Obama's best friend.

    I really think Jesse Jackson is against Obama. He'll cut his nuts off and all of a sudden this.

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. he just don't get it


    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    No worries, Rev. Jackson is not the candidate of the Dem. Party, nor has he been an adviser to the Obama Campaign. Just another wander down the LOW ROAD for McCain and Palin as they desperately try to pull something from their nether regions in a last grab at anything resembling salvaging dignity or anything like it from this debacle of a campaign the Republicans have run.
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 YES WE CAN!!!

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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