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. Nicole In NE

    Hmm – well Attack, attack, attack is his middle name these days.

    I think he's pushing Independents over the edge to Obama. They don't respond to negative attacks.

    Can someone please remind me how he is not like Bush again?

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. McHoover Will Destroy What is Left of America

    Jesse Jackson is a child.

    First he makes his castration comment and now this?

    Jackson has now insured his irrelevance.

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Linda from Carrollton

    Jesse Jackson should refrain from mentioning Obama's name, everything he says is negative.
    Barack/Obama 08

    October 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Dee

    Since when did Jackson Sr become an advisor for Obama? He can't speak for ANYONE let alone Barack...poor Jesse..still trying to get in the spotlight and poor McCain..still desperate for a glimmer of hope...

    Hopefully Obama will address this tonight so he can go ahead and kill this NON STORY...

    October 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Sarah

    Obama will change many things in America. He is a socialist, very liberal. Let's see how he governs the United States. He will be elected after all because bad economy forces him to be.

    October 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. EMMA

    jesse jackson doesnt even support obama because they dont share same ideology. the repugs must have bribed him to try and derail the train, which already has arrived at destination whitehouse.


    October 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. We are ALL "That One"


    He is sooooooo desperate! LOL, 14 points down in the poll and the momemtum keeps building. The Tidal wave of CHANGE is coming!

    Obama-Biden 08

    October 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Tom

    Jesse Jackson is completely wrong. David Axelrod is Jewish and he is Obama's Campaign Manager and is definitely not Anti-Zionism. I think Jesse knows that he would have done better if Hillary had been President whereas Obama looks at him as being part of the past. Israel will be protected by our troops for the length of the Obama Administration.

    October 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. D. A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    The United States has an extreme case of tunnel vision when it comes to the Palestinian-Israel issue. How would you like it if someone comes to your house and tries to destroy it and when you defend yourself, you are called terrorist for doing so. Then the party who is destroying your house and taking your land, has the United States to defend your actions and then the US rewards your bad conduct with aid. This is what is happening in the area.

    This is one of the reasons why we were attacked on September 11th. Our country forgets that we have citizens of this country are of Palestinian ancestry and that Palestine was a nation until 1948.

    October 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. Jon

    Did Jesse Jackson suddenly become Obama's spokesman? Why should Obama take heat over anything Jackson says when they have absolutely no professional relationship whatsoever?

    October 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Fredrick J. Buhullllllllllllllla

    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 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. Sunil

    Jesse Jackson wants to derail Obama – that much is obvious. But that is HIS problem, not Obama's. He is not Obama's advisor or related to the campaign in any manner, shape or form.

    The only thing the two have in common is the color of their skin. And Obama is not responsible for the utterance of every black person in America just like McCain is not responsible for the utterance of every single white person in America.

    Nobody cares what Jesse Jackson says – he is a moron.

    Not sure what all this fuss is about.

    Indian Americans for Obama!!

    October 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. E for Obama

    November 5th can't come any sooner. The McCain campaign is pathetic!

    October 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Spencer/Commonwealth of Virginia

    This is down right low by the McCain Camp. He's such a loser.

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. KM

    How can Obama "take heat" for comments made by a person who declared his desire to "perform surgery" on him?? This is ridiculous.

    The fact that Jackson supports Obama is irrelevant. This would be like McCain "taking heat" for comments made by those Republicans who are still voting for McCain, but questioned his temperment to handle the job. No one does that though, do they. I wonder why?

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Oh! The Irony

    The same guy that said he wanted to cut Obama's special parts off, is now supposedly speaking for Obama? McCain, get a better strategy please. A lot of Black people are losing respect for Jesse. He was great in fighting for our civil rights, but over the past decades, he's lived to see his face on tv and remain relevant. Jesse should fal into obscurity.

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. RWG

    Why do the spin doctors for each campaign continue to transfer beliefs to the candidates that are spoken by their supporters? Please give the electorate the benefit of the doubt here. We're exhausted from the finger pointing and childish behaviors. We're in the midst of a defining moment in our history and all they can do is try to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Please give us a break and raise the bar on the political discourse that will shape our country.

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. just me

    "MT from Texas October 15th, 2008 11:24 am ET

    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!"

    Are you really that silly? Do you read and gather info for yourself? When did Jesse Jackson become apart of Sen. Obama's campaign? Where does it state that whenever a black person speaks something negative it should always be attributed to Sen. Obama? You people are unbelievable!!! Get the facts instead of spewing talking points from low-downs McPalins who would rather lose his dignity than to lose an election!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. PW

    Will someone please ask Jesse Jackson to just relenquish his era of politics, get in the 21st century, sit his outdated behind down and shut up. With skeleton's in his closet and his consistent mouth flaps, he needs to retire and just be quiet. I respect how Obama has distance himself from Jesse and I don't blame him one bit. Jesse is not the voice of many African American's neither is he the best example of an American or African American man that I would want my son or any man to look up to or respect as a model citizen. He's suppose to be "Reverend" Jesse? In what regard because his gaffes do not exemplify such.

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. carl from savannah

    Mr. Jackson has accomplished so much like equal rights, civil liberties and the persuit of happiness. He has made history through out his life work as an activist. As an african-american male myself, I thank him and the many others that paid a way or life for all of us – that is inclusive of all veterans past and present which I am apart of, All of these people is why America is what it is? Why I can walk as a free american, Why I can look across the seas and miss home just by visualing foreign soil. I say this out of respect to Mr. Jackson, please Mr. Jackson stop talking. Your time has not finished you have plenty of God's work to do but this is not the time for fustration and contempt.

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Liliana, FL

    Obama is wrong for Israel!

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. So what?

    people are interesting in what Mccain is going to do about the economy. No everybody has 9 homes and 13 cars. Stoping talking about things that don't matter in peoples lives period.

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Wanting the truth

    Why can't Jackson just keep his mouth shut?

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Obama is a dangerous person

    and unfortunatly the ignorant won't realize it until it's too late. I just wish I could get off the ship before it happens but there again, we're all in this boat together. I just hope we have enough people left with an IQ above a monkey to vote the lesser of the two evils.

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. Kathy

    Just CNN's attempt to make a story of McSame's alleged "comeback" because their getting bored with the recent lack of "mudslinging". Grow up CNN.

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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