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. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Jesse Jackson, John McCain, Sarah Palin, William Ayers, ACORN ... all are IRRELEVANT!!! This election is all about the economy, change, hope and rebuilding from eight years of divisiveness. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are America's best hope for the future.

    October 15, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. republians hate america

    Yes McPhony this is what will prevent the stock market from going below the 300 points its already at.

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Scott Tucson

    I see that McCain is going after Obama's pick for Secretary of State.
    What's next from John? Going after the Secretarty of Treasury to be Charly Rangle?

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    more lies and fear mongering from McCain.... what else you got, OLD MAN?

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. JimS.

    Well, if we're going to play that game.....let's drag out Phil Gramm again and ask him what he thinks about the economy? Are we still just whining, Phil?

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Justin Eilers

    I agree that this is racist and playing to the fears of the White Republican Vote. I really cannot believe that CNN would run this story. Let Obama speak for himself. You should be ashamed as a news organization. You are feeding right into the distractions that the Palin campaign is putting out. It is not the McCain campaign anymore because the person I used think he was has been taken over by the Rebublican political machine. Sad Days

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. That one is Karl Marxs friend too

    This is a good point. Yes the economy is important, but so is the tricky relationships overseas. It should be something people should pay close attention to.

    And please don't say you are a republican voting democratic. You are now democratic, and please change your designation. The democratic platform and their far left views are not anything like the republican platform. If you agree with spreading the wealth and higher taxes you never were republican. I would be fine with more democrats in the US, just don't try to fool us real conservatives that you were one. You never were.

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. sglman4Obama

    Jesse Jackson Sr. = The Past

    Barak H. Obama = The Future

    Enough said! Lets focus on something revelant and not Rev. Jackson rants on foreign affairs. It isnt like Obamas going to pick him for Secertary of State...LOL

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Vince in NC

    I guess this is Jackson trying to do what he said he wanted to do a couple of months ago in that Fox Interview.

    Jackson does not want Obama to win, he's not part of his campaign. Jackson wants to keep racism alive so he can be the "black" spokesman. If Obama wins Jackson become irrelevant.

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. KD NY, NY

    Jackson has always been an Obama Supporter. In late March 2007 Jackson endorsed Obama. Obama accepted the endorsement and praised Jackson.

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. Paul W

    For years we in the african american community have had to listen to the press take the word of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as the "Black" perspective on everything. As far as I remember they have never been elected to any office. Please stop. America is trying to elect a new President (Obama) to represent our views. Let's hear it from him if you want his view. Thx

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Nick - Arlington, VA

    Jesse Jackson please shut up. That is not Obama's stance toward Israel, you are not an advisor of his and the last thing he needs is this distraction.

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. McCain/Palin - Deceiving the American People

    Um, Jesse Jackson is not part of Obama campaign. He happens to be African American. McCain are you saying that all Black people speak for Obama? Not only is that premise racist, it reeks of desparation...

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. A real voter

    These blogs are so full of mindless liberals...AND campaign plants to flood ridiculous inflamatory comments towards McCain and especially Palin. So, we'll likely have to suffer through four years of this ultra-liberal leftist regime...and I just pray that we make it through intact.

    McCain '08

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Independent

    This is not very credible...It actually make Obama look better in my view. I mean Jesse posed a threat to Obama's privates not too long ago so I doubt he now is so friendly with Obama that he can say what Obama thinks.

    October 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Dana


    You are just as sick as the conservatives for even printing this mess!! Stop trying to link Obama to everybody!! Print the news about the one conservativie supporter of John Mccain. He said it was no difference between Obama and Osama!!

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. Lyle

    Mr. Obama’s stance on Israel has changed so many times; no one can be sure exactly where he stands. However, as he indicated in his debate with Mr. McCain, he is not willing to act independently if Israel were attacked by Iran. As he stated, he would wait for UN Security Council approval before fulfilling our obligation to protect one of our strongest allies.

    This fundamental difference between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama should not be overlooked. We have pledged our support to Israel and Mr. McCain is ready and willing to uphold that pledge, period. Mr. Obama takes this pledge lightly and would simply wait until any action on our part was pre-approved by the UN. In situations such as these, waiting means lives lost. We need a President who can make a decision.

    Mr. McCain is a leader, Mr. Obama is a follower.

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. TJ

    WHAT AN IDIOT!!! What is this guys problem? I wonder if his son is going to condemn these comments too.

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. Jefrow Tull

    McCain's campaign reminds me of that Frankie Goes to Hollywood video back in the day. It's all smoke and lasers. This truly is a sign that the end is near. Prominent republicans jumping off the bandwagon weeks before the election. McCain continuing to attack Obama on things other people have said. No real plans to fix the economy. Not recognizing there was a problem with the economy until after somebody made him aware of it, then trying to take credit for a bailout plan everybody hates. If all the registered democrats alone show up and are allowed to vote, this election will be a landslide in obama's favor. After Obama wins, there will a ton of other republicans that will be losing their jobs as well. The future is indeed looking bright.

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Anne E.

    This has nothing to do with anything, CNN - stop allowing yourselves to be played by the Rove/Schmitt/Scheunemann triumvirate!
    And McCain should just phone in his concession right now, because for him, this race is all over. It ended when he told the man at that rally last week that he had nothing to fear in an Obama presidency.
    Personally, I think McCain himself will vote like the rest of us - FOR OBAMA!

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Sue from KC

    This is so very typical of how CNN has mishandled its reporting of the campaigns. You guys give away so much time to McCain and Palin's every move, remark – and NEVER questions either of them about anything of importance. Lou Dobbs just foams at the mouth he is so in the tank – I'm done with CNN – all you are intrested in is ratings and to get those you are manipulating the news to keep this race tight.
    Shame on you –

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Texas Trail Dog!


    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. johnrj08

    Did it ever occur to anybody here that it may be time to re-evaluate our unconditional support of the Israeli government's policies. The United States will always defend and support the Israeli people, but you have to admit that some of the inexplicable Israeli decisions on the settlements have incited real anger in the Middle East, not only toward Israel, but also toward the U.S. Israel has been routinely irresponsible on the issue of expanding its settlements and dislocating Palestinians. At some point, the imperfections of Israeli policies on this matter will have to be addressed or no peace in the Mideast will ever be possible. In any case, Barack Obama would definitely go to war in order to protect Israel, and all these remarks by Jackson are ludicrous.

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Let's hear about her "witch doctor" preacher, too.

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Nick - Arlington, VA

    EVA October 15th, 2008 11:31 am ET

    Jesse Jackson- You call yourself a reverened? Do you know Obama's views on moral issues and what he is running for? You're a joke and so is Obama. Do you not see this is fitting into God's plan of the world coming to an end? You of all people calling yourself a "reverened" should know what the bible says and that who and what Obama is. We are causing our own destruction. People are so blinded to the truth( which the bible also says that is going to happen). Maybe if we go back to what this country was founded on- Christian views and start reading our bible more, we might not be in this kind of mess.
    Someone forgot to take off their pointy tin hat this morning!!

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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