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. Robert - Detroit, MI

    I am glad someone called out Obama about his recent inability to take a hard stand on anything. I am a little bothered by the fact that he applauded John Edwards for his "kickoff" in LA. Though a noble gesture, it doesn't really do anything special, other than make him look good.

    I only wish that he had pointed out the billions spent on what is now generating Iraqi poverty that could have been donated to reduce US poverty.

    November 27, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Ebony Angel, Cali

    Jessie is upset because He can NEVER be president!

    November 27, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Brad, Dixon, CA

    The more we have these complaints about "black people", the further it segregates our cultures. If people like Jesse Jackson would keep quiet, we would probably start to see some of those social barriers come down. The race card is old and boring, and I think it's because it's not an issue. The issue is not about race here, it's about poverty and crime. Stop using black people as the face of poverty and crime, and maybe we might see some progress!

    November 27, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. xtina chicago IL

    The Chicago Tribune has thousands of job listings for which people in poverty can qualify. Every Sunday there's another wave of the thousands of jobs listed. But Jesse Jackson's answer isn't "get a job" , it's "let the government take care of you." Democratic candidates would continue the tradition of ripping off the hard-working taxpayers to increase the welfare doles. That's why we need a new conservative to show that education, strong family ties and personal responsibility is the key to bringing people out of poverty, not lifelong hand-outs.

    November 27, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. marquis

    Always the victim. Preach victimhood and that is all you shall become.

    November 27, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. sophia Brooklyn NY

    Ignoring blacks??
    How can you ignore blacks when they're IN YOUR FACE all the time.
    History Month
    Black TV
    Black Howard University

    November 27, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. Maggie- Chicago, IL

    Blacks are being ignored again? Come on!
    Now you are going to march on LaSalle street because of "unscrupulous mortgage lenders"?, yet you complained how blacks were unable to receive loans a few years back...which is it, higher rates for people that don't have good credit ratings or couldn't afford a regular loan, don't pay their bills? Fannie May and the NAACP joined forces to get blacks and minorities their loans. People of all races make choices, we all make our own beds...
    Next what, you're going to bring up family values again? By the way, how is your illegitimate child the media never brings up, or have you been to "hymie town lately"? Made any apologies to anyone latelor ever?
    We are all so tired of you, how about getting a real job or you can just work for your sons that have control of "the beer contracts" in Chicago....
    Why does the media give you a platform?

    November 27, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. Brian Tampa

    Yet 95% + will march in lock step to the polls next November to vote for whatever quasi-socialist the Democrats decide to nominate.

    November 27, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. Jordan. Los Angeles

    Yet another useless rant from the country's number one ambulance chaser. We are tired of your empty rhetoric Jessie. Get a job! You don't speak for us.

    November 27, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. Wallace Chicago IL


    I think Jesse's time is–and has been up. I also like the comments on here today.

    Not a lot of racism, just pure truth. Frankly, I can't believe it, but it's great. Persons are starting to understand that injustice PERIOD, regardless of race, is WRONG. Yes, all races are struggling– Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, etc. Poverty, lay-offs, and a bad economy are not issues experienced by one race.

    Oh, and to the ignorant comment about how "white people have their own party[GOP], go start your own"– that is simply stupidity. Folks, do you know how many African Americans voted for Bush in 2004? Do your homework before spewing this nonsense. Unfortunately, that was one of the reasons he won–Evangelical, African-American Christians.

    Take care.


    November 27, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. Jonah, Boston MA

    I'm a Liberal, a civil rights advocate, affirmative action supporter, and, more topically, a condemner of the treatment the Jena Six have received– in terms of both the racial intimidation they faced at school and the draconian sentence that they received for dealing out a well-deserved beating.

    However, it's pretty hard to take an anti-semitic "civil rights leader" like Jackson seriously. Ditto Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan. In fact, the rampant anti-semitism among black leadership and some segments of the black community makes me sick.

    November 27, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. John Schipper, Martinez, GA

    More propaganda from on outright racist called Jesse Jackson.

    November 27, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. William

    Jackson, Sharpton, and Oprah are all racists, no other words to express what they do.

    November 27, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Tim Charolett nc

    their are more than just blacks in poverty the whites are to get over yourself jesse.........

    November 27, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |


    November 27, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Matt, Pennsylvania

    Well, I'm so glad that poverty is now only a 'Black' problem. I think I should now go and tell all the Whites and Hispanics in the nearby communities that they are not in poverty, since only Blacks are.

    This is the problem that faces Blacks in America today. Pandering, lies, and racism from their so called leaders like Sharpton and Jackson. Its not poverty, violence, unemployment, or lack of education / opportunities. These problems know no bounds, no race is immune to them.

    These people are separatists, not looking for equal rights. If they want to be a divisive as they are, take their followers and go so that the rest of us can collaborate and work together on solutions to these problems.

    November 27, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Mitt in 08 are no longer relevant to any issues in America, a country you love to hate. You are a hipocrit and a scam artist who scams the blacks for your on gain, people have wised up to you Jesse so go away...make sure you continue sending the child support....Get on the Ron Paul bandwagon...Ron needs the cash for his campaign.
    {Please excuse the spelling, as there is no spell check in this comment window...CNN is to cheap to supply one} maybe Jesse can rattle the Dems on this issue too.}

    November 27, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Ralph, San Francisco, CA

    To Joe, from Boston: learn how to spell ('s Sharpton, not 'Sharpten'; it's hypocrite, not 'hypocrit).

    You're welcome.

    November 27, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. cari, columbia, md

    ummmmm....yeah....tell me, how is it you can "fight racism" when your whole platform is racist and serves to further divide people?

    November 27, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Liberal Chic

    Jesse Jackson does not "back" Obama. He said he would vote for him because they are neighbors. He has said repeatedly that he is not officially endorsing him as a candidate.

    November 27, 2007 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Sorry to say, Jesse, but your 15 minutes were up several years ago.

    All you're doing now is hurting your son's chances to advance within the party.

    November 27, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Kathy, Texas

    Jesse is like a nightmare that you never wake up from. As soon as you close your eyes.....there's the monster again. Why is he still using the term "African American". I don't call myself American Indian-Amercian. And think how bad the American Indians have gotten the shaft over "Afican-Americans". Can't we all just be Americans with the same agenda....To help out the less fortunate Americans?

    And to JW Canadian who asked to name one republican that has ever done anything for the black community....

    Here's one....President Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.

    November 27, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. AJ, IL

    Jesse still has some pull among African-Americans especially in some southern states. I do applaud Jesse for his involvement in the Civil Rights movement and politics in general. But its time for Jesse to let go! Jesse can no longer claim to be the voice of "black" america. All the Democratic candidates are proposing policies that include all Americans. It is up to the state and local politicians to work at organizing state plans for successful implementation, be it education or social services. Instead of Jesse pushing at the state and local levels of government as well as gaining grass-roots support, Jesse is still trying to be relevant on a national level by accusations and catch phrases. He is too full of himself to realize this.

    November 27, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Hooligan, Everywhere, America

    Jesse and Reverend Al:

    There are three, former, Duke lacrosse players who are waiting to hear from both of you........

    ...and when do you, two, begin to excoriate the alleged victim there?!

    November 27, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. Rudy Gibbs, Fairfax, VA

    Most of the people that have offered their thoughts clearly have no clue about constituency politics. African Americans do represent a unique constituency because we have a unique history in this country, which in turn creates unique issues which require unique solutions. Rev. Jackson is correct in stating these candidates are not addressing these issues, and they do so at their own peril. There may not be much risk of a mass defection to the Republican Party, but their innattention could certainly produce apathy come next November, and Democrats can ill afford that!

    November 27, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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