July 19th, 2009
03:46 PM ET
5 years ago

Jackson: Black leaders want to engage more with Obama

Rev. Jackson said Sunday that African-American leaders want to engage with the president because there is 'unfinished business.'
Rev. Jackson said Sunday that African-American leaders want to engage with the president because there is 'unfinished business.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A longtime civil rights leader called Sunday for the nation’s first African-American president to be more engaged with the black community and for greater government action to address the needs of the poor and unemployed - especially those in the African American community.

Rev. Jesse Jackson said that he and other African-American leaders “want to engage more fully with [Obama] because there is a lot of unfinished business.” While Jackson noted that the president has met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and with some African-American mayors, Jackson said he has yet to sit down with Obama.

Jackson said on CNN’s State of the Union that he was confident, however, “at some point in time, we will meet.”

Jackson also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the African-American community is still plagued by "structural inequality." He noted that progress has been made since he first ran for president 25 years ago in 1984, but he said there is still a need for investment in troubled, inner-city communities and for the government to "play a stronger role to stop the flow of guns" and "revive the ban on assault weapons."

He also called for another stimulus targeted to help the poor and unemployed, saying, "We need a stimulus package that is bottom up."

"Just as there has been a stimulus targeted for the banks to let them recover, and they've recovered to such an extent that they are making a profit again and sending money back to Washington, there must be a targeted stimulus at the base where you have this vast unemployment," Jackson said.

Jackson’s comments came just days after Obama addressed the NAACP on its 100th anniversary.

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. R Tomlin

    The last sentence in your article says it all!
    just read it.
    Jackson is a "has been" opportunist.

    July 19, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. renea

    Also I want to say Yes im married just like myself my husband at a young age got laid off as well He took advantage of the oportunity too he went got his barber license then his CDL now he drives trucks and he is home every nite. I also have cousins that single moms who went to school and now are social workers so dont tell me there is not opportunity out there for us instead of putting the blame on race. I know there are a lot of us black who is handling their own. There is nothing wrong with looking to the government for help when you have to but that doesnt mean you have to depend on it forever. Rise Up make a change for yourself!

    July 19, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. JoJo

    I am an African American, but I am not black. Do I fall under Jesse Jackson catagory. I think black leaders need to stop using their racial tone to express their grievances, unless they appeal to everyone concern regarding of the color of their skin. Obviously when Jesse Jackson was talking about African Americans he was referring to blacks, not whites.

    July 19, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Dorian in NC

    As much as I like Jackson, it's hard to have any credibility to meet with Obama when you wanted to cut off the President's nuts...(or so Presidential nominee back then...)

    July 19, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Calvin

    Jesse Jackson should be under no illusions about personally meeting the President after the offensive, snide, and ignorant remarks he made about the Barack Obama during the campaign. I am an African-American and I suppose that at this point, we need nothing further from our President. As Mark Twain once said, "There are fewer things harder to put up with than a good example."

    July 19, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. Margo

    Awww, poor baby. He feels Obama is ignoring him, and everybody knows Jesse is an important man.

    July 19, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Daniel

    I for one am sick and tired of Jesse Jackson...he is such a windbag!

    July 19, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. RR

    The age of Jackson and Sharpton is over. Go back and hang out with Michael Jackson's family.

    Jesse Jackson is no longer relevant.

    July 19, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Mike in Atlanta

    But Rev....I DO NOT want you to sit down with anyone representing me. Please go somewhere.

    July 19, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Denna

    Please black leaders, President Obama cannot fix what is wrong in black communities until young black men stop being predators, robbing and killing their own. These miserable people suck the life out of their community so that the decent people can't even go to school or work without worrying about take a bullet because some slug woke up on the wrong side of humanity. Before you bigots get started, most black Americans want what white American wants and that is decent jobs, good housing, healthcare, education and a chance for their kids to grow up to be useful adults. Seriously, if George Bush had been born a black man, I seriously doubt that he would have made it as far as he did because he was not really all that smart, just rich. Give President Obama a chance to fix the economy and all of the other ills and your lives, if you can get your act together, will be better too.

    July 19, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. The Party of NO stood calmly by for 8 year while the shrub raped and pillaged America, so, why would we listen to you now?

    Exactly why should President Obama wish to sit down with the same man that accused him of "preaching to blacks" about responsibility and wanted to cause harm to his gentials?

    Jackson give the first stimulus time to act, it includes the poor and the unemployed.

    As President Obama has stated from the beginning it will be long time and a slow recovery from the republiklan induced financial meltdown President Obama inherited from the "fiscal conservatives"!

    July 19, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. the rector

    I hate to break it to ya jesse, but you are irrelevant and, quite frankly, old news. If obama meets with you it will be throwing the dog a bone and nothing more. Please just go chase ambulances or sell crack or whatever it is you did before anyone heard fo you.

    July 19, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. AR

    Can we give this guy to another country or something? Maybe give him a 9 to 5 so he can see what its like to work and then have to listen to idiots like him on the nightly news.

    July 19, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Mike Dallas

    Sorry, Rev. Jackson but President Obama is the President of all the people and not just the ones that share his skin color.

    July 19, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. The Mamba

    Jesse still doesn't get it.
    Barack Obama was elected president of the entire United States, and he has correctly said that as he works to improve the status of the country everyone, including African Americans, will benefit. He has also acknowledged that the Black community is suffering disproportionately in this economy. Let him manage it – he does not have to kiss your ring to get it right. Further, he is only six months into his administration and he has more than one urgent issue on his agenda.
    As the one who originally wanted to "cut his nuts off," you are now proffering a Rx for a one-term presidency if it's perceived that Obama has an agenda that will benefit Black people only. Because he hasn't sat down with you specifically doesn't mean he is not paying attention to what needs to be done. I think most people believe he is considering EVERYTHING that needs to be done. Jesse, maybe you need to go sit down and be quiet. You are perceived as a one-issue persona (one reason why you would not be elected President). Let the man who WAS elected do his job.

    July 19, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. ladybug in CA

    Dear Mr. Jessie Jackson:
    Please, you have had your turn. President Obama is America's president, not the president of the African-American community. After your nasty comments about him, if I were he, you would never have any conversation. You, Bobby Rush, et al, have lost all of my respect because of your obnoxious behavior. There is a way to do everything with a tone to match. This is a new day. Your concerns should be waged properly, or not at all. And especially not in the media. Don't even think about dividing the Black community; you loose. We love President Obama and you will never change that fact. It is a pride that goes beyond your childish, jealous, ways of thinking. Please have a talk with the Rev Al Sharpton. He has come a long way and has all of my respect. This Black American has had enough of you.

    July 19, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. dave

    Jesse is right. Black leaders should engage more with the President. Does Jesse know any black leaders?

    JJ proves that not every minister/politicial/sex pervert is a Republican

    July 19, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. brenda

    The government HAS BEEN addressing the needs of the black community. Its called welfare, free daycare, food stamps, government housing, free medical insurance and affirmative action. Has this helped to promote self sufficiency among these people? Barely. In fact, the costs to provide these programs has skyrocketed and the number of those receiving these services has jumped at an alarming rate. get rid of welfare and people will be FORCED to find work and care for their families. As long as the government keeps putting money into these failed programs, you will continue to have failing people.

    July 19, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. bimmer

    Apparently the community feels betrayed after Obama failed the blacks despite getting more than 95% of their votes,

    When Bill was President, he did so much for blacks that he was called the first Black President of US.

    If the blacks voted for Hillary in the primary, no such community meeting would be needed. When it comes to blacks, Bill and Hillary get it.

    Obama is an elitist, preaching only responsibility and accoutability. He does noot come from a slave ancestry. Son of a Kenyan graduate student, he was raised by a white mom and a white grand mom.

    It is too much to expect from him to do for the blacks when he does not get it?

    July 19, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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