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. 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 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Larry

    It is simple to see that Jesse has no clue on the current political situation.

    His past of adultery and pessimistic statements has show he is a fool and has no clue on what is happing with the world.

    It would be best if the news agencies just ignore his statements and not publish them.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Mark- Minneapolis, MN - Independent

    Okay guys, enough!....Mr Jackson – You stepped over line once again and as well add no value – for either candidate. Bottom line – Obama wants the american public to have positive change...Mr Jackson you only speak when it benefits you....I held you in some regard a long time ago, but you have allowed your personal jealousy for Obama to interviine and it has taken your sense of perspective....The McCain campaign has come to the end of the road....anything to bring negative rhetoric, which is not what we need...Lets emabrace The Obama Adm – it bring a great combination of some of the most respected people in Washington – Lugar, Biden, Hagel, Kennedy, Powell....Just to name a few.....We need you Mr President Obama.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Marc

    Jesse, thank you for your life of public service. You are a true America hero and we all look up to you. Thank you for the straight talk. I wish more politicians wouldn't mince words. It's a shame that you have been vilified by Obama's legions. You deserve better.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. Greg

    Did I miss the memo that Jesse Jackson is now a spokesman for the Obama campaign??

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Justin Pugh

    Nice Try McCain Camp...

    Jesse Jackson in no way speaks for Barack Obama and any half hearted dim whitted pundit knows that. If anything Barack Obama disagrees with Jesse Jackson on many fundamental issues.

    Nice Try, but this one is grabbing at straws here...

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. outsider

    Can McCain prove any connection between Jackson and Obama except both are black? Mr. McCain, Please focus on economy and the future of the country.

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. shannon

    it is nice that CNN can let the McCain campaign speak about Obama's thoughts on the issue, instead of getting a statement from his campaign. Come on guys. I can't even believe you had no statements in that little snippet from Obama, that is awful, you also failed to mention the tension between Obama and Jackson, the tension between Jackson and his own son for crying out loud. Report this issue with truth and thoughfulness, not recklessness! Thank you-

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Jason

    Jackson is a prominent Democrat Leader. I think his opinion is certainly of merit. You can't steal votes playing the race card for 30 years and then cry fowl when it backfires the way the left is trying.

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. Mace

    Wasn't it early in the primary season that Jesse Jackson had a grudge with Senator Obama over some issue? Why would anyone trust what he is saying?

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. ConsiderThis, FL

    Jessie Jackson has issues. So does McCry-Baby.

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Shari, NY

    Jesse Jackson – you are a part of history and out of Obama's league. Obama's background is different from yours – get over it and get a life!

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Dave

    More Lies from the McPain camp! Can't wait until November 5th.... their days are numbered!

    Obama/Biden all the way!

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. rew

    OMG I wish Jesse Jackson would sit down somewhere.... somewhere without a mic. When his tactics to smear Obama didnt work here in the US, now he's traveling abroad making inflammatory comments about the man who will do what he (Jackson) never could.. inspire a people, lead a nation, and walk in integrity.

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Cathy Brandes

    You can't be serious – Senator Obama has made it perfectly clear his position on Israel. Jesse Jackson does not speak for the Senator or his campaign.
    More of the same from McCain – fear and smear.

    October 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. RKing

    Jesse Jackson likes Jesse Jackson and will say a lot to get attention. McCain and he are alike in that respect. McCain isn't the man he used to be.

    October 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. NormK

    McCain just parallels Bush (the dumb-dumb) and couldn't come up with an original idea of his own if he had to. As such, McCain must use smoke and mirrors to distract his audience from his ineptitude. When that doesn't work he goes irradic and throws things in the fan to see where they land.

    Finally, McCain is more than willing to risk the nation by selecting Sarah in order to satisfy his own selfish gains.

    October 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Abby

    So now a gut who said horrible things about Obama when the thought the cameras were off speaks for him?

    October 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. Nannie Bouroughs

    I really don't see much of a problem here... Oblama has always spoken out of both sides of his mouth, changed positions [FISA] whenever it is in his interest of becoming president.

    CHANGE: "I'll do or say anything to become president because I want the POWER!"

    October 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. Brad

    This is too funny. A black person says anything and Obama gets blamed for it. lol.

    October 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Truman

    We need relief from Jesse Jackson, his family needs relief from Jesse. What does Jesse's son say?

    Jesse, you are done in the black and white community!

    October 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Julia Nini

    I understand everyone is worried about the economic crisis and how they will take care of their families. It is very painful for me to think that many may allow Senator Obama to buy their vote with promises, especially promises to those who need the most help. Senator Obama has a history of being there for those who would move his interests forward, namely, Ayers, Rezko, Rev. Wright, ACORN, etc. He would later disown them. Senator Obama claims now to rally us and improve our lives. He needs votes in return. It may be possible that once in office he will no longer have incentive to follow through. What will be his motivation, that is an unknown as we cannot be sure of his ultimate goals. We should avoid betraying our own beliefs and values? Please do not sell your vote. Support Senator McCain because he really wants to invest himself to help Americans. If it really comes down to the money who needs it more, Senator Obama or Senator McCain?

    October 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Preacher

    Before everyone jumps to conclusion, lets MAKE sure this is what he said and not what is being REPORTED he said in France. It is being "reported by a POST columnist. Lets be wise and not be hasty in our condemnation, On the Noe Madison show Jesse said it was not true and he had a corroborating journalist with him, so don't allow yorselves to be manipulated by the right wing agenda

    October 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Sam

    This is just the stuff that brings Lou Dobbs such joy!! I can see him now wringing his racist hands at the prospect of bashing Obama again tonight, while hiding like a coward behind his "Mr. Independent" curtain.

    Notice he says nothing about Palins links to the secession party? Or the fact that Palin has been judged guilty of abuse of power? Or the fact that Palin supporters continue to shout "Kill him!" while she says nothing?

    CNN – get a grip. You have to get rid of Lou Dobbs

    October 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. John

    Jackson has no authority to say what Obama will do. He's just still looking for a way to cut Obama's strings, as he so nicely put in to the open microphone a month or two ago. Just shut up, Jesse. You are so yesterday, even before McCain.

    October 15, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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