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. What a Liar

    A New Low for Republicans !!!

    I know CNN will not allow these comments to see the light of day however I will waste 20 seconds of my life typing them anyway...

    A group of people who believe absolutely NOTHING that Rev. Jesse Jackson states on a normal day would stoop to the level of using those comments to bash Barack Obama. Jesse is all of

    John McCain and his Caribou Barbie Doll are so desperate to smear Barack that I can only imagine what will come next. Maybe it will be the rehashing of the infamous Whitey tape that every Republican has heard but, not a single one of them can provide once they are called on it.

    Here Whitey Tape, Here Whitey Tape, where are you????

    Desperate Republicans are a stupid breed !!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. maxine

    Mr. McCain Please mention this tonite in the debate. Please Please take it to Obama.

    Let see how desperate you are lol

    October 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Mike


    YOU ARE A WASHED-UP civil rights activist!! Obama does not need you so please KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Shannon

    Wow McPalin camp, how about that race card. Two different men, two different stances. But we all look alike. Three weeks and it will be over. I can't wait.


    October 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. mo

    Jesse has made it clear that heis jelaous and not truly a supporter of Obama.. Jesse please.- leave us with some trace of dignity.. You owe yourself that...

    October 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Mike in IL

    Lewis and now this... is Wright next???

    Obama has to be feeling pretty good about all of his supporters thinking that he has all ready won...

    October 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. Brian, Pittsburgh

    Twisting one person's words, and then tying him to the candidate... is anyone else seeing a pathetic pattern here?

    Why can't McCain run on McCain. Why is his entire campaign about smearing other people? Is this how he would run the country??

    October 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. Denise OKC

    OH BROTHER!!! Can we just VOTE Already??? Who Cares what the Rev says...he lost my respect when he (under his breath) expressed the desire to cut off Sen Obama's "Presidential Pistachios". Get Lost.
    Obama/Biden 08

    October 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. James in NJ

    More desperate attempts by the McCain Campaign. Your supporters and even non supporters deserve better than these paltry attacks. You should end your campaign on a positive note
    It is a shame we have to wait until Nov 4th to elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden. We need them in there NOW!

    Obama/Biden in 08!

    October 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Tom, KS

    Since when does J Jackson speak for Obama? Obviously a non-issue.

    October 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. George

    Jackson may not be part of the Obama campaign but his son, Jesse Jackson Jr. IS! This speaks volumes for what these people believe in and I do not trust Obama one bit. There are too many issues that he has changed positions on and everytime there's a conflict within his stance he always says "this is a distraction". Well, I'm sorry, but there's been way too many "distractions" in this campaign for me to vote for Obama.

    October 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Kelley

    Wow.....By now you would think that McStupid woukld have picked up on the voters wanting to hear about the issues.I just guess when your Old,Gray and in the way thats how you do things.

    October 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. ber6964

    Jessie Jackson is an old Has BEEN!! Like Racists of the White Kind there are Racists of the Black Kind!! These People from all races are out of touch with OUR FUTURE!!

    October 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. My State Is Blue! Yours Can Be Too!

    Who cares what Jackson says?
    I wish he would sit down and be quiet.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. republians hate america

    whats real dangerous is Christian extremists that are currently the loud minority and running this hateful government now.

    October 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Brent

    Does anyone REALLY care what comes out of the mouth of "Rev" Jesse Jackson?

    October 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. Christopher, Louisville, KY

    Is it really any shock that someone so out-of-touch as John McCain thinks that Jesse Jackson speaks for all black folks?

    October 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. judge huck

    Is the LAST HOPE of the McCain campaign lies on Jessie Jackson's comment?

    The old man got no game left, time to hang those shoes.

    October 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Glad to see Jackson and Sharpton Go

    As soon as Obama is elected, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will become completely irrelevant, if they aren't already. They have for years lived off of sharp rhetoric to keep a distance between blacks and whites. They are in complete shock that a man like Obama is able to bring two groups, who they claim are so far apart, together to help CHANGE this country for the better.

    So long Jackson and Sharpton. You've been allowed the spotlight for way too long. Stop trying to bring Obama down with words you now will incite. We are tired of it from the McCain/Palin camp and we are tired of it from you.

    If fact, we are simply tired of you. Go away and let real, thoughtful leaders take control.

    October 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. Mick

    When did Jesse Jackson start speaking for Senator Obama?

    CNN you are making it very obvious that you are pushing support for John McCain.

    October 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Cathy


    October 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. sm

    During the last debate the candidates were asked whether they would go to help Israel if that country was attacked by Iran.

    McCain answered that yes he would and that he would not wait for the UN security council. McCain said that there would not be any holocaust in the region.

    Obama gave a long winded answer saying that he would not allow Iran to obtain Nuclear weapons and that he would sit down to talk to the enemy. But he did not answer the question !!!

    That bothers me.
    I do not think that Obama can be trusted with the delicate US foreign policy. Obama is too risky. He can seriously damage foreign relations.
    Basically Obama is inexperienced.
    Perhaps if Biden was on top of the ticket....
    But he is not.
    McCain is therefore the intelligent choice.

    October 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. PoliticoPundit

    It's not what Jesse said by himself, He said Under Obama Administration, That means Obama is related and should be aware of what is going to happen in his administration. If jesse had said , under next president, it would have meant any president but he said under Obama administration, so Dems, Please read .. this is an ISSUE

    October 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. chuks

    who cares what jesse jackson thinks? Its the economy everyone wants to hear about.

    October 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. wakeupamerica

    Yawn. McCain is grasping at anything. Any fool knows that Jese Jackson does not speak for, nor represent Obama, or any other politician. Jesse's all about himself.. Issues John issues. Pack it up and go home, and take mincemeat Barbie with you.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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