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. Tammy

    Are you serious with this one John McCain? Jesse Jackson should be ashamed of himself for continually trying to sabotage a campaign he should be supporting.

    October 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. park more

    He is right Jesse Jackson. Even I am democrat I do not know Obama, very secret about his change. I think that's very dangerous to vote for obama, the country will take a dangerous move. I do not like McCain but I have no choice. Choice between worse and bad and I wil vote for the bad "McCain"
    Think about your children what you will give them........ Think hard hard and hard when you vote....... Your vote for Obama will make our children not safe.......... If you love your children and I sure you do, think very hard when you will vote

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Tim

    Just because they are both black doesn't mean that Jackson speaks for Obama. The McCain campaign should apologize for this racist garbage.

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. Dixie

    Jackson is not a true supporter of Obama. He supports himself and loves to see his name in print or on the news. He used to turn up at every disaster to put his face in front of the news camera. I will vote Obama/Biden despite J Jackson.

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Jerome

    It's the ECONOMY!!! stupid......AGAIN

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. irishspacemonk

    Jesse Jackson never could make it to the white house – and he's probably a little jealous of Obama – but the reason he could never make it was because he was always more impressed with himself than anyone else was, and never knew when to keep his thoughts to himself. It's obvious that Obama doesn't stand by these words, and it's also obvious that McCain is desperately grasping at anything he can to try and claw his way back. It's too late. America has already decided. The fundamentals of this economy are not strong.

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. gallimimus

    Jessie Jackson just needs to shut his mouth. He doesn't know what he is talking about. Anybody ever notice that he always comes up when theres a chance for a photo op.

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. Hana

    J J was the moron who spoke rude words for Sen Obama not realizing his mic was switched on. Time after time he has proved to be an idiot. His stupid remarks dont mean anything.

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. Rusty

    The people that might care about any inconsistent stance regarding how the US deals with Israel, are Christians and Jews who know how God deals with countries that oppress or attack His holy city. Liberals may not believe in the sovereignty of God, but that does not mean He is not real and is not sovereign. Those of us that believe also know that economic and domestic policy and charming personality are of little importance if we as a nation grieve God who holds our very existence in His hand.

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    after Jackson's last gaffe, you would think that he would just sit on the side and keep his opinions to himself no matter how positive or negative they may be. But Jessie is NOT running for president and you have a McCain campaign that is grabbing for ANYTHING it can to try to drag Obama down in the polls. Jessie Jackson right now is about as relevant as Micheal Jackson and that's not very much at all.

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Becky

    McCain is so desperate that he is trying to tie Barack Obama to a man who threatened to castrate Barack Obama?? When his transition chief was a lobbyist for Saddam Hussein??? PULEESE!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Mike D


    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. Carl from MI

    Let's hear Sarah Palin work how Obama is a terrorist into this storyline.... just like she works it into every storyline she talks about!!

    I'm going to do what you Republicans always do and write about everything BUT the topic this blog is supposed to be about (am I the only one who notices that's what the Republican operatives who blog on here do each time?)

    Let's talk about how Palin was found guilty of an ETHICS violation!! Let's talk about how she used her powers and her office to advance her own personal agenda!! Let's talk about the Keating 5! Let's talk about Cindy McCain and Vicodin!! Let's talk about all the vacations John McCain has taken with Charles Keating!!!

    And most importantly.... let's talk about the BRIDGE TO NOWHERE!!


    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Steve

    With Obama in the lead in the polls, his radical adgenda will be scrutinized more closely and exposed. Ultimately, he will lose this race because of this.

    McCain/Palin '08

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Winnie Hussein . . . in Montana

    So, now Sen. Obama has to be responsible for every comment a supporter (although after some of Jackson's comments, I'm not sure supporter is a fair characterization) makes. Jackson is a nut-job and Sen. Obama has no more control or influence over him then he does Sarah Palin. Jackson, on his part, should not attempt to make it appear that he has any idea what Sen. Obama will or will not do. That's just Jackson inserting himself into the mix, as he has done before and will probably do again.

    Now, before anyone says the same should apply to Palin and McCain and what their supporters say, I would like to make it clear that their incitement of hate speech makes them responsible for the comments their supporters make at their rallies. Sen. Obama in no way encouraged Jackson's comments or set the tone for them.

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Cirena

    Jesse Jackson is an idiot. He has nothing to do with Obama's campaign, and has no idea what an Obama administration would entail. Jealousy is such an ugly thing. We all remember Jesse's comments from a few months ago. He is not a true Obama supporter, and the GOP knows it. The republicans are trying to make a big deal out of nothing again. Jesse Jackson's words are irrelevant. Jesse Jackson dosen't represent anybody but himself.


    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. mgb408

    Looks like the mccain campaign is so desperate!. They are willing to jump at anything in the hopes that it will stick!

    Not this time...not this time!..someone should tell them..thats soo 2004!..we are in 2008!!

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Chris

    I think it ironic that Republicans suddenly give credence to remarks by Jesse Jackson ... but only if it suits their ambitions

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Peter Brown

    This is something to pray for and think about. Guys, what if this comment is really true? What will be the consequences for the USA?

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. True Blue Ohio

    Jesse Jackson is irrelevant. He should stick to finding the pot of gold at the end of his coalition rainbow.

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. S in NY

    I hope people aren't expecting the stock market to react positively to an Obama administration.... the steep downturn can be partly attributed to the increasing likelihood he may win. That is just the way it is – there are other reasons to support him I guess. But make no mistake, based on some of his statements and even defined policies, he is no friend of capital markets.

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Justin

    The McCain camp just doesn't get it. Not only does Jackson not have anything to do with the Obama campaign, not to mention the fact that Jackson went under heat earlier in the year for derogatory comments about Obama, but none of the voters who are going to decide this election are probably either a.) that versed about Israel relations b.) that concerned about U.S. policy regarding Israel. It's the economy stupid.

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. George

    Speaking about comments. How about the "kill him" comments at the McCain Palin rallys? Neither McCain nor Palin has said a word about them.
    Do they want this job at any cost? God help them and God help America. I thought more of John McCain until now.

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. tulsa

    Jesse is upset because he never got as far as Obama has.

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. TyWebb

    Good ol' Jesse...just can't stand to not have the limelight no matter how stupid his comments are becoming.

    October 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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