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. Jewel

    Senator Obama was very smart by not letting this guy no where near his campaign.

    October 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. Doug R.

    When is the pathetic and immoral John McCain going to address real issues?? McCain has run the most dirty, dishonest, and negative campaign I can ever remember (even though he told us all he wasn't going to get personal). He and Palin spit up lies everyday. No U.S. administration will abandon Israel. Jesse Jackson is a non entity and has no relationship to the Obama campaign.

    October 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. MT, Texas

    WOW! And the Truth comes out! It was apparent to many that Obama's goal was to pull away America's support of Israel, but to allow his campaign to go abroad and say it directly is crazy. I guess Jesse forgot that what you say in another country can still be hear, read and watched over in the US of A and Israel.

    I knew Obama was an appeasement candidate, but this level of weakness is shocking!

    October 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. KJL

    Who cares what Jesse Jackson says? He's a publicity hound, and Obama hasn't shown him the deference he thinks he deserves. Jackson is only interested in pandering to a select group, while Obama is working for the good of the whole USA.

    McCain desperately wants Florida, which is the only reason he and Palin keep up their "stinking corpse" rhetoric. Two hypocrites. If the Florida voters supported India, for example, Palin would wear a sari.

    October 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. I see Russia from my HOUSE

    This is just ridiculous!! McCain camp is trying so hard to ruin OBAMA... BUt guess what McCain Camp NOT THIS TIME@!!!!!! WE AMERICANS KNOW WHO IS THE HONEST PERSON HERE AND THAT'S BARACK OBAMA!! GRANPA NEEDS TO RETIRED ALREADY

    October 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. tulsa

    For pete's sake, Don't you McCain staffers have any grasp of reality?


    The boneheads that will fall for this crap are YOUR BASE.
    You aren't going to pick up any votes by doing this..... lol, I suppose I shouldn't be giving you advice..... on second thought, GO AHEAD! MAKE A PLAY FOR YOUR BASE!

    Oh by the way, VOTE OBAMA!

    October 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. Jow Green

    Hey John McCain!

    I know you think "they all look alike" but....

    THIS is Jesse Jackson.

    THAT is Barack Obama.


    What Jesse Jackson says is NOT what Obama means.

    Jesse Jackson was a Clinton supporter! Sheesh!

    Just because some famous WHITE GUY says something, does that mean John McCain believes it?

    Of course not.

    This is racist, plain and simple,

    October 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. Veterans For Obama

    Desperato, why don't you come to your senses......Mccain has become a shell of the man used to be. A Shame.

    October 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. PA voter

    Jesse Jackson has unfortunately proven himself to be a joke and a bitter man. He struggles with the fact that Barack Obama has been able to do what he has done without having been directly part of the civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s. Jackson thought that Obama's fortune would be rightfully his.

    He is not part of the Obama campaign and that also infuriates him. Obama has distanced himself from Jackson and rightfully so. Even Jesse Jackson, Jr. has distanced himself politically from his father.

    Jackson has no more insight into the Obama campaign than we do. I don't take any of his comments regarding Obama's support of Isreal seriously.

    October 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. Susan

    Schunneman is a liar!

    October 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. DW, NY FOR OBAMA '08

    Jesse Jackson needs to go somewhere. He's so jealous of Barack that he's doing anything to derail Barack's candidacy. Go somewhere Jesse. You're all washed up. Go home!!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |

    Jesse is just jealous. He's old news step aside jesee

    October 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. Liz

    Jesse, please shut the heck up!

    And anyone out there who believes this tripe should remember that Jesse Jackson does NOT work for or with Obama. Judging from his actions, he seems to be working for the GOP!

    If you want to know what Barack will do, look at the Obama website! Stop letting McCain adn Jesse Jackson tell you what he stands for.

    October 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. bill

    yes we obama supporters know better. we know mcbush will do say lie anything to win.its not going to work this time. BUSH PACK YOUR BAGS YOU ARE OUT OF HERE CAINT WAIT THANK GOD ITS ALMOST OVER. THE MOST CORRUPT LIAR ON PLANET EARTH BUSH MCCAIN PALEN GOOD BY GOOD RIDDENCE

    October 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Tara

    Sure CNN you will talk about this, but you won't mention anything about John Kerry bring up the fact that John McCain's transitional advisor was buddies with Sadam Husien. You always take the republican bait as a way to look like you are so impartial... but its all crap if you ask me. Why do you never ask McCain and Palin the tough questions. The republicans throw out a mention of something and you are all over it, but not when it has to do with Obama. Palin was just found by investigators to have abused her Power as Govenor and she is running as a maverick.. why in the heck have you guys burried that story. Just think if that was Obama or Biden, we would still be talking about it today.. You guys are Hacks.

    October 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. Brian Rich

    More useless distractions from the McCain campaign.

    October 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. LIP

    We all recall Jesse's remark about Obama's gonads, don't we. Jesse will probably still get a seat on Obama's cabinet in spite of this, as Obama seems to have a short memory when it comes to controversial people and the playful things they say and do.

    October 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. facts are facts

    Jessie Jackson and John McCain have a couple of things in common with each other. Both are relics of the past looking to get themselves some glory and both speak without making a lot of sense and usually only open their mouths to change feet.

    Once again the McCain campaign looks to take the focus off the fact of his incompetence and irrational behaviour. Jessie Jackson has been side lined and McCain is on his way to the side lines.

    October 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. Carl, Atlanta

    Oh yes, let's attempt to distract and raise the "whitey ire" by jumping on the comments of the now irrelevant Jesse Jackson. McCain's total meltdown is almost too painful to watch. I would never have dreamed he could be so despicible.

    October 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. tulsa

    lol... ya know, to say Jackson is a "Supporter" of Barack Obama is pretty far off target. Remember him saying what he wanted to cut off?
    One more example of desparate, out of touch Republican tactics.

    October 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Barbara CA

    Voters do not hold John McCain responsible for everything other Republicans have said, why should Barack Obama be held responsible for everything Jesse Jackson says, (especially if some of those things in the past were actually attacks against Obama)???

    Go Obama/Biden. One man, one vote.

    October 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. Chris

    Hey McCain, since when did Jesse Jackson become a spokesman for the Obama campaign.

    Do all of the Obama supporters speak for Obama or his campaign. Just because Jackson says something does not mean that his views are shared by Obama.

    McCain is playing the race card as well as the stupid card, if he really brings this up.

    And justs watch, McCain will be accused of using the race card and then he will deny it.


    October 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. A Republican from Texas for Obama

    Who cares what Jesse Jackson thinks. Is HIS name on the ballot???

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. Indiana Joe

    We ARE so tired of republicans and their FEAR and SMEAR tactics... McCain is running the dirtiest campaign in HISTORY. He has lost all the respect I had for him. He has no honor. Can you please talk about something that we actually care for?

    By the way, does he know that the McCain/Palin ticket is the first in American history in which both candidates were found to have violated ethics standards before a national election. That is a fact. Now, can we talk about something important?

    October 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. Palin is a Patriot Act

    Country First should mean USA first; Israel and all others after that. Get it McCain? Not Israel first.

    October 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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