November 27th, 2007
01:20 PM ET
12 years ago

Jesse Jackson: Dem candidates ignoring blacks

Jackson is highly critical of the Democratic presidential candidates in an Op-ed Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a high-profile backer of Sen. Barack Obama's White House bid, says all the Democratic presidential candidates are ignoring African-American issues except former Sen. John Edwards.

"The Democratic candidates - with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans' Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign - have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country," Jackson writes in a Chicago Sun-Times Op-ed appearing in Tuesday's edition.

"The catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without mention," Jackson continued. "No urban agenda is given priority. When thousands of African Americans marched in protest in Jena, Louisiana, not one candidate showed up."

Jackson, who endorsed Obama's candidacy earlier this year, previously caused a headache for the campaign when he reportedly told a South Carolina audience in September that the Illinois Democrat is "acting like he's white."

Criticizing the Democratic candidates' response to the case in Jena, Louisiana, Jackson also said then Obama needed to be "bolder" in his stances if he hoped to do well in South Carolina - a state in which African Americans constitute more than 50 percent of Democratic primary voters.

Following those comments, Jackson later issued a statement reaffirming his support for Obama and commending him for "speaking out and demanding fairness on his defining issue."

But in Monday's Op-ed, Jackson writes, "it is no longer acceptable for candidates to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to entrenched discrimination and still expect to reap our votes."

In response to Jackson's comments, the Obama campaign notes the Illinois senator unveiled a $6 billion package of programs in July that aims to combat urban poverty.

The plan includes the creation of affordable housing and jobs, providing education and financial support for parents, and creating an institution modeled after the World Bank specifically for America's cities.

Obama campaign spokesperson Candice Tolliver told CNN, “We encourage Rev Jackson to closely examine the Senator’s platform and take another look”

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    Jesse must be bored.

    November 27, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Joe, Boston, MA

    Please Jesse go away! You have had your time and now it's time for others to lead. The black population is not the only group in this country.

    Democrats are speaking about all people not just blacks when it comes to healthcare, social security, immigration reform, etc.

    Get over yourself!

    By the way, whatever happened to the apologies to the Duke students who you and Rev. Sharpten marched against and declared them guilty? I know I'm still waiting for that apology to those kids. You're a hypocrit!

    November 27, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Common Sense

    No Jesse, they are just ignoring you, because you are cancer to anyone's campaign because you have made a fool of yourself enough to alienate your own self from the black community you so adamantly claim to represent when in reality, they are embarassed of you and your buddy Al Sharpton. Please, just ride off into the sunset quietly and please try not to screw this up for Obama or Edwards you attention whor...... uh. slu..... no. dang. floozy!

    November 27, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. Joe Ossai, Beford, NH

    shut up

    November 27, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Ellis, NY, NY

    Please stop giving this man a forum.

    November 27, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Mark, Shreveport, LA

    "African-American issues"?????
    Why are the issues they are concerned about different thatn other Americans? Are African-Americans not concerned about the economy, the war, jobs, education, and health care?

    The Democrats can ignore African-Americans because they are 100% assured that at least 90% of African-Americans will vote for whomever the Democrat nominee is next year.

    Democrats know African-Americans will always vote Democrat no questions asked.

    November 27, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. Steve in SC

    If I am not mistaken, all the proposals and ideas that I am hearing from the candidates are for ALL Americans, that would include African Americans. Poverty and crime effects all races! And I am African-American, or you can say (and I prefer) I am an American!!

    November 27, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. jw, canadian,ok

    Wrong again Rev. Do you ever wonder why no one pays any attention to you? You and Bush are alike in one way, every time you open your mouth, you say something stupid.
    Instead of slamming Democrats, try naming anything any Republican has done for a minority.

    November 27, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. J. Williamson Buffalo ,NY

    Why don't YOU get into the race Jesse? Not that you'd win, but put your money where your mouth is! P.S. Have you publicly apologized to the Duke lacrose team yet? You certainly owe them a BIG one.

    November 27, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Jo, ATL GA

    Sorry Ms Jackson.

    Create your own party then. The whites did... it is called GOP.

    November 27, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Rick Maryland

    I'm getting tired of people like Jackson who's a complete joke and
    Opra playing the race card.
    I'm sorry but the entire world isn't

    November 27, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. chuck, boston ma

    jackson needs to go fly a kite. He and Sharpton keep racism alive and well in this country. Is it not racist that he says Obama is acting white? Hey Jessie that is your name right? Not Martin Luthor!

    November 27, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. Independent in IA

    Nah....this jerk is just ticked off because he is being ignored as irrelevant...which he most certainly is. He should save his breath for breathing, not proving how stupid he is.

    November 27, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. Cory, Pennsylvania

    Let's all do America a favor and ignore Jesse Jackson!!!!!

    November 27, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Allen, Redlands CA

    Jesse if you'd just shut up maybe people would take your issues seriously.

    The Democratic Party and it's candidates most likely are tired of being hijacked by ths whiney little portion of the population. Dems lose elections because they pander to clowns like Jesse Jackson.

    November 27, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Joe G, Washington, DC

    I am ignoring Jackson and Sharpton as I find their comments generally divisive and unproductive. I note that I have been working since I was 15, and neither one of these bums has ever worked for a living, not a single day of their lives.

    November 27, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. Ivelisse

    blah, blah, blah.....

    not even the african-american community listens to this boffun anymore, why is CNN paying attention to him??????

    November 27, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. Jerry, Troy NY

    My interpretation of Jackson's comments are that no democrat is sharing their photo op time with Jackson.

    November 27, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Chris, Pensacola FL

    Soooo, do you support Edwards then? Why would you back Obama if you agree with Edwards?

    November 27, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. ACD, Silver Spring MD

    I really think that all these black civil rights leaders need to shut up. I am an african american woman and they are making me sick speaking for everyone. This is what is wrong with this country today. We are soo segregated that we need a canidate to preach to BLACKS ONLY. How about every family that is in poverty and stress that needs aid not just blacks. They are making me utterly sick

    November 27, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Ahtram, Oakton, Virginia

    It's wonderful that Jesse Jackson and John Edwards have addressed the black poverty problem.

    Who's taking care of the white poverty problem, or is there no such thing?

    We can be sure this problem will be ignored by Hillary Clinton. Her major objective is to "beat" the GOP.

    November 27, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. john mace shelby nc

    I don't even listen to what Jesse has to say. He is a racist to the greatest degree. I he would spend his time and energy in a positive way it could make a difference. He just wants to turn blacks against whites and draw attention tom himself while living off black supporters money. He and Sharpton are two peas in a pod all they do is stir up anger in whites as well as blacks. They live and thrive off controversy.

    November 27, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Karen, Houston TX

    Here we go again, Jesse Jackson bellyaching over the plight of Black America and why the world is not paying attention. Presidential candidates must consider ALL of America not just the needs and wants of a minority group. I am an African American woman and frankly I am tired of seeing demagogues like Rev. Jackson blaim the world for the plight of African Americans when the majority of problems stem from a 70% birth rate of children to young single mothers, and a 50% high school drop out rate of African American males. Instead of pointing to politicians maybe we need to point to the African American community itself, making better decisions and choosing to take advantages of the opportunities our parents and grandparents fought for.

    November 27, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Jonny, Tacoma, WA

    Jesse Jackson is irrelevant. His opinions ought to simply be ignored by CNN. Civil Rights advocates like Jackson merely prolong the enmity between people of different races, contrary to their intentions.

    November 27, 2007 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. Todd, McLean, VA

    Jackson decries "entrenched racism", yet he chides Obama for "acting like he's white."

    Is he saying that black Americans only problem are white people? Is he saying that only black Americans can provide solutions to black people in America?

    Character counts, color does not. I certainly hope that black Americans don't feel that Jackson speaks to their character.

    November 27, 2007 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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