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. KC

    Amazing CNN...your screening should be considered criminal.

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Baber Khan

    Jesse Jackson's comments hold no water & this is yet another desperate attempt by McCain to salvage his candidacy. However, point to be noted is that this is the 2nd time Jesse 'dumb' Jackson has potentially harmed Obama, 1st being his highly inappropriate comments on camera (when he thought camera was not rolling). I am beginning to feel that maybe Jesse wants to be the 1st black Prez & is internally furious @ Obama for making history. Don't know why he keeps blabbering...without much thought.

    Jesse should stick to his Rainbow Coalition & continue doing what he does best, CAPITALIZE on racial issues & dis-harmonize progressive black success.

    October 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Adrienne

    The McCain campaign has become so small.

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. demwit

    Obviously Obama's recent "expression of support" for Israel unquestionably override his entire senate record on the same subject. Questions??

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Segaro

    Jesse, you are a fake and a fraud. You used the N word you, which you say is offensive, against Obama. Why should anyone believe you are speaking for him?

    STFU and become even more irrelevant.

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. clean up washington

    Hey McCain campaign. Have you not noticed Jesse and Obama are not exactly close? In other words, Jesse does not speak for Obama. What we do not understand is your overall strategy. What is your theme? What is your vision? Why chose a terrible spokesman like Tucker Bounds with his whiny voice and beaten up persona?

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Lois in Florida

    I wonder why this is even a news story. It seems that CNN is falling into the trap of trying to be fair by running anti-Obama stories whenever it runs one critical of McCain. Since when are Jesse Jackson's statements (just because Drudge reported them) newsworthy? Please recall the last we heard of this nutcase was when he was on national tv talking about cutting off a part of Obama's anatomy. It's pretty clear these guys are friends. McCain and his surrogates need to cut out the fake outrage, and the media has to stop getting played so obviously.

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. David

    Well, I can't say I like either of these candidates positions. This is possibly one of the worst years for voting in a POTUS. Two sorry bought and paid for candidates. Puppets. Time for the emergence of a viable third party.

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Deb n Texas

    CNN, you need to report the NEWS. Jesse Jackson released a statement saying that he did not say that. He said they distorted his statement, he said that he has not spoken to Obama about Israel and doesn't know anything about Obama's plans for Israel. That is what Jesse Jackson's response is and CNN you need to report the truth.

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. DK

    McCain should back off his attacks of Senator Obama's qualifications and stick to the facts and his proposed policy objectives. I was a staunch McCain supporter until he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. He could have picked from 100 women that were more qualified and prepared for the VP role. Unfortuntately, he picked the candidate that when you blow in her ear, she thanks you for the refill.

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Tony Frermont, California

    Jesse Jackson doesn't represent anybody. He has no constituents at this time. He's not a congressman, he's not a senator, he's not a governor. He's just a citizen. One who has had no Whitehouse debriefing on the present foreign policy state of affairs at this time . He certainly hasn't asked Obama any questions about Israel. Even though Barak would answer his questions if he asked. The Democratic party as a whole is not even responsible for Jesse Jackson's state of affairs in this election cycle. Jesse Jackson is responsible for himself and his own opinions. And for the Mccain campaign to give any of his opinions "credence" to attack Obama has no traction because the GOP has lost their "grip".

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Chas in Iowa

    C.mon this is an insult to my intellegence,
    The guy has no ties to the Obama campain what-so -ever.
    His hate based initiative is his own opinions which everyone has a right to but in no way should be constued as a endorsement of Obamas commitment to the Nation of Iserial.

    Obama '08

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Bill

    Jesse Jackson will never learn to keep his nose out of everyone's business. He's not happy unless he is getting publicity no matter whos ticket he needs to ride in on. Thanks for attempting to speak for President Obama, but shut the hell up, once and for all.
    We chicagoans are tired of your flapping/

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Steve S.

    How about Pains ties to the white radical group Alaska Independent Party
    And the McCAIN advisor who was lobbying for Saddam Hussien.
    Why doesn't McCain want to talk about these issues???????

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. pray2008pray

    Jesse is jealous that Obama made it further than him......

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Jamie,Hattiesburg,MS

    The spirit of MLK must be seriously vexed by Jackson.The man that marched along side him and gave his life for this moment in time.How shameful and so disrespectful for Jackson to have anything negative to say towards Oboma.If anyone on this earth knows what this moment means to so many people it should be Jesse Jackson, or have you forgotten your own personal history.Sit down and stop trying to hinder the dream of MLK.

    October 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. values


    October 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. David

    LOL – I see the DNC moderators are still running the comments section on CNN...

    McCain is accused of being a hater, just read the comments here and you can see the venom spewing from the left, what a joke you lefties really are.

    Obama – loves to play that race card, Just ask Clinton.

    October 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Trina

    Obama is responsible for what other people say? Ok ... then McCain is responsible for the extremist (followers at his rallies). Give me a break!

    October 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. Annette

    Oh please, can a man has a point of view?Gee louise?? supporters of McCain are calling Sen. Obama a Muslim? and this and that????double standard again.

    October 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. Jasmine, MN

    Desperate times cause for desperate measures. McCain is losing big time, and his campaign managers will do ANYTHING to turn the tide. Once again, it won't work.

    Right is on Barack's side and we will right the ills of the George W. Bush regime. McCain WILL NOT WIN, so help me God.

    October 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. M. WINNERS

    Two things: Jesse Jackson has become a bufoon who's time in the spotlight and creditability are gone. Thanks but no thanks for your support Jesse.

    And the neocon repugs have jumped all over ole' Jesse's comments as if the Pope himself said Obama "would end the Zionist control" over American foreign policy.

    And as usual, the slime spin masters at the McCain-Palin compaign respond with "fear, smear, mock and LIES" trying to scare the American Jewish voting block. And you know what, they will probably tip some votes to the geezer and the princess.

    So, get out and vote for Obama/Biden to offset those poor creatures that believe this crap...

    October 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. isreal is not an ally

    remember the uss liberty , jonothon pollard ets , we pay them 4 billion dollars per year plus military hardware – they spy on us they rob our govt blind , we dont need these blood suckers – its the only reason why ill vote for obama – no more special treatment for isreal

    October 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Cynthia; Bham

    Jackson doesn't speak for the Obama campaign and McCain knows that he is just trying to create a diversion in this election. Anything will do him – even something that he & Palin started with their nonsense about Obama palling around with Ayers.

    October 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. dick deadwood

    jesse dont speak for OBAMA but what if what he said WAS true, so what? It's about time the the USA threw off the shackle of a one sided relationship with Isreal that gets us nothing and cost us plenty. Why should an american running for president have to pledge loyalty to a foreign country anyway ! Isreal has played on western guilt over the holocaust since the end WWII and then they did the exact same thing to the arabs.

    October 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19