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. Mr Brown

    It is so sad that Mr. Jackson just can't step aside and let someone else take a different stand than his own. Why must everything that is said be taken out of context and a new twist added.

    October 15, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Mary, Kenilworth, Illinois

    Jesse is the master of self promotion. Even Sarah could take lessons from that one, well, maybe not-shes not that bright.

    October 15, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Confussed

    Anything but the issues..... ::sigh::

    October 15, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. Guy

    This freakin' guy is jealous of the Obama campaign. How long will he be saying "it should have been me up there?'

    October 15, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Rachel

    Since when does the McCain camp put any stock in what Jackson says?

    October 15, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Indie Nevada Voter

    How much you want to bet Sen. McCain mentions nothing of it- won't look at Sen. Obama and does his "that one" bit tonite...

    McCain just is a pitiful excuse of what America stands for... as are his supporters and their hate filled shouts at the rallies...

    Go home to Sedona McCain, try sitting in one of the vortex's and clear out your negativity and if that doesn't work- I can recommend a good healer down there and a decent crystal shop to help you get grounded again cuz you are just way off in space at this point and definitely have NO IDEA what the American people want.... namely- TALK ISSUES and NOT spew negativity!

    OBAMA/BIDEN in '08!

    October 15, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. David

    The only one who seems to care what Rev. Jackson has to say is Rev. Jackson himself.

    Since the "Hymietown" quote of years ago, he's lost credibilty and has become irrelevant. Please, Rev. Jackson, stay home and keep quiet. We don't care anymore!!

    October 15, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. Debby

    Another dumb surrogate of Obama's last week it was Lewis this week Jackson.

    October 15, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. right source

    Come on people! Why is this a blog before the last debate? Has McCain taken any heat over the comments at his rallies or those of his running mate when she said..."She has nothing to lose...". We need to discuss real issues. Thats what the American people want, not all of these smoke screens to hide the truth..

    The formally RED state...

    October 15, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Bridgette-PA

    EXCUSE ME, MCKEATING5 SUPPORTERS, is Jesse Jackson in the OBAMA/BIDEN campaign? I didn’t think so. Stop trying to turn the page from the issues at hand! FACE IT, IT’S OVER FOR YOU! Someone could say that OBAMA IS HALF SHEEP AND IT WON’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

    OBAMA/BIDEN -08!

    October 15, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Indiana Joe

    By the way, we ALL KNOW well Obama for like 4 years, but Sarah Palin for ONLY 1 month. We actually need to know her better, her policies, beliefs and connections... Why is she is being shielded from the media? Palin is running for VP, Jesse Jackson is not... Give us a break!

    October 15, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Living in the USA

    Why is Obama gotta take heat for someone's comment instead of the person who said it. I have never seen any mess like this in my life. Jesse/John Lewis are GROWN men responsible for what they say. I am tired of folks trying to make Obama responsible for someone else, especially the black community, Enough is enough. I have never heard the word denounce as much until Obama start running for office.

    October 15, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. GE in MD

    Shame on the McCain campaign for tring to link Jessie Jackson's comment with Obama's positions. Jackson is irrlelevant and should be treated as such. Also, contantly harping on Obama's willingness to have govt-to-govt talks without preconditions with the nut-cases (Ahmadi-Najad and others) makes no sense, too. If you make the precondition a change in inflammatory rhetoric, you're never going to have any discussions or an opportunity to dissuade. Obama has said "Preparations – yes; preconditions – no" ... We're not at war with Iran yet and not seeking unconditional surrender.

    October 15, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. Mack

    Has the McCain campaign been absent in linking with Phil Gramm for the failing economic policies of the eight years that he knows how to fix. McCain can fix all his messes, just give him a chance America, please, please. He fought for us. Someone give me a drink and give Sarah Palin one also.

    October 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. zack,new york, ny

    Jesse Jackson is irrelevant. Al Sharpton is smart enough not to make so much noise and complain.

    October 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. Coherent1

    McCain, Jesse Jackson is no Barack Obama. It's idiotic that your campaign groups blacks together as if we agree on everything. As if one speaks for the other. We are many..many in values, and beliefs, and character, and personality, and morals, and religion. Remember, when we came here, we were from different tribes, speaking many different languages, with different skills and talents, with different beliefs, and morals, and value systems. We just share the same commonalities of treatment in America, skin tones, and features. Are you too lazy to see the differences? Just group em' all together to make things easier, huh? Lazy bums!

    October 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Spencer/Commonwealth of Virginia

    We have SCHLEP. Jesse Jackson is not an adviser to Sen. Obama. Is this the best McShame can come up with?


    October 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. McGirt

    Jesse Jackson is a has-been along with ol AL Sharpton. THey had their crack at it and didnt make it past the primaries so stop thinking they speak for all minorities, and/or obama.

    October 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Kim

    It's as if the words that come out of his own mouth (Obama) don't mean anything, because he has stated his position on Israel over and over and over again. Yet Jessie Jackson says something contradicting these stated opinions, and that's taken for fact by the McCain campaign. What weasels.

    ps. it's so heartening to see so many Republicans on these boards (current and former) voting for Obama!!

    October 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Rob

    Sounds like Obama is flip-flopping again.We must support Israel.We must not flip-flop just to get more votes for President.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. JohnGalt

    Jesse Jackson isn't part of the Obama election staff, I believe Obama does stand behind Israel. Israel is a strong democracy in the Middle East, and that's why Obama will support the nation of Israel.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Californian4Obama

    Anytime a public figure says anything controversial, and ESPECIALLY if they happen to be Black, the McCain camp pounces on it and tries to blame Obama. Just another form of racism coming from the McCain/Palin ticket.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. melinda in NV

    This article and the comments reinforces to me that Obama is the element of UNKNOWN. SO MUCH about him is unknown since he has no real experience running a budget or being responsible for more than voting "PRESENT" 90 times we have no real hard evidence at what he will do. For now, both candidates are just saying what they think we want to hear, but when in office – they will do what they feel is right. Obama is a unknown choice, while McCain has been proven competent. Obama thinks he can rewrite foreign policy, but I'm telling you – there is so much intelligence and covert actions going on right now – that we haven't got a clue about. IF he's in office and learns all that, his tune will change alright – and he will realize that there has been a lot more done right than wrong the last 8 years. But only history will tell us – just like not hearing about the Cuban missile crisis until decades later. The "change" guy may very well just want to make changes to follow through with his campaign – but they may not be well placed.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Karen

    Jesse Jackson does not speak for Barack Obama. The Senator is speaking to us every single day. Listen to what HE says. Listen to what he will say tonight. And, by the way, I hope John McCain brings up the William Ayers issue tonight. Those of us who consider ourselves "high information voters" know the story, have heard Senator Obama and his staff explain the tenuous connection. But John McCain continues to paint this picture of it being somehow "mysterious" or "shady." If John McCain brings up the issue tonight, everyone watching (70 million?) will know the truth and we can put this behind us and talk about the REAL issues: Senator Obama will cut taxes for 95% of Americans and raise taxes ONLY for those making over $250,000. He will create jobs, end the ward, responsibly, in Iraq, and begin to restore America's standing in the world that has been damaged by the policies of George Bush and John McCain.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. sandy

    Okay what else does McCain have up his sleeve. I trust Obama much more then I would him.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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