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. Leroy, Orlando FL

    This guy will exploit race until he's dead. It's the only way for this lousy excuse for a human being to make money. While most in the country are trying to move forward in a race-neutral way, this scumbag continues to drag everyone backward. Black voters should be insulted when he uses "our votes" to describe the thoughts of an entire race. He's truly a joke and shouldn't be featured as credible in the mainstream media.

    November 27, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Francis Lambert, Va

    Why do they keep giving Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton the opportunity to speak, all they do is keep stiring up Racism.

    November 27, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. PollM, Dallas Texas

    Do you agree with Jesse Jackson that all the Democratic presidential candidates are ignoring African-American issues except former Sen. John Edwards?


    November 27, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. therealist

    "try naming anything any Republican has done for a minority." - jw, canadian,ok

    It's call the Emancipation Proclamation there jw and it was written by, Abraham Lincoln, the very first republican. Republicans have always wanted equality to mean exactly that, equal rights for all. It was the Union army that was led by a republican commander and chief..

    A simple review of history shows that the Dixiecrats supported the union’s split and separation by race. Just ask grand wizard Robert Bird. You see, it is the democrats that have proven themselves to be users of race and religion as hate tools to achieve political goals.

    Where has that donkey taken you Al and Jesse? Will you blame it when you finally realize the social dead end it has brought to the American black family??

    November 27, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. James, Houston, TX.

    Why does Mr. Jackson's every second thought read as "African American"? Back in the melting pot era of the early 1900's Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson took a bi-partisan stance that there were no 'Italian-Americans', 'Welsh Americans' or 'Chinese Americans' but we were in fact all 'Americans'. Americans with ancestry in Africa have been on this continent basically as long as Americans with European ancestry, why are they then 'segregated' by Mr. Jackson as "African Americans" instead of 'Americans'? I don't believe he considers the discriminating candidates he refers to in the article as 'European Americans'.

    November 27, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. ABC, NY

    The Dems have been ignoring them for over 40 years.

    November 27, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Mitts are Man

    the only thing I want to hear from this piker Jesse Jackson is that he is fed up with America and is leaving and moving to africa to take up the plight of those in that country, they could use a voice like his to help please Jesse feel free to go, we will make it with out you. The only one you have helped is yourself and that phoney Al Sharpton.

    November 27, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. DJ South Bend In

    Where is Jesse Jackson when there are drive by shootings where the blacks are killing each other over drugs and gang issues!!! SHUT UP ALLREADY !!

    November 27, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. ray, Topeka, Kansas

    I work full time, attend college part-time. I am on time to both everyday. I am having a hard time paying for health insurance and my tuition and books. Gas is thru the roof. The city and county have raised my personal property taxes again. The company I work for posted record profits in the 3rd quarter. I got a raise but they took more money out of our backpay to backpay health insurance I already paid for. The CEO and top tier of our company cashed millions in bonuses. I feel ignored lets hold a press conference.

    November 27, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Norotye New Bern, NC

    well i dont agree with jesse on most everthing – but clearly here he is right!

    November 27, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Helmut Scheiss, Lakewood, OH

    Living in DK's district, I am very happy that he has resolved all of our problems and is running for the highest office. He will be sorely missed by all of his local constituents. His plan for utopia is nothing but genius. Gotta love that Department of Peace!

    November 27, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. RUFUS1133

    Like always. Jackson is counter productive to his own movement. Of course BRIBES come nto play. He looks to be a sabotuer, for the d's and Sen Obama.

    If he would talk about the plight of poor people in america, as opposed to ONLY african americans, I might be with the guy. He hurts his own cause.

    November 27, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Michael, Houston, TX

    Dem's aren't ignoring the black vote. They just realize that they don't have to work anymore to get them. Their focus will increasingly be on the hispanic vote. That's not rascist, just politics.

    November 27, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Screaming Eagle, Syracuse, NY

    Jesse Jackson, like his pal Al Sharpton, is racist of the first order and any comments made by him should be given no coverage and no creedance,

    November 27, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. Shawn Lowell, MA

    What does "Acting Like He's White" mean? Just another black man who hates white people. Jesse Jackson is just another common racist who keeps racism in this country alive for his own personal agenda.

    November 27, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Jeff, Shiloh IL

    yeah.. why do we have to mention the black community.. whats done is done for Americans.. There are poor hispanic people in the inner cities, dont here them pissing and moaning. There are more poor white people who live in rural areas then there are blacks in the inner city so what is the govt. going to do for them!
    Bottom line Jesse.. you work hard, take advantage of govt. grants, education.. things dont just get handed out... he is useless!

    November 27, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Jed in Texas

    I love Hillary, just kidding,I just wanted to see what I had to say to get posted on here after having posted 10 spots and each got censored.They were clean posts but I guess CNN DOES NOT BELIEVE IN HEARING The TRUTH!

    November 27, 2007 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    Funny how Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are always first in line to complain, but I never see them putting their shoulder to the wheel to actually accomplish anything. More armchair quarterbacks without the chutzpah to back it up. What hypocrites!

    November 27, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Jimenez - Texas

    Posted by Rick – Maryland. "I'm getting tired of people like Jackson who's a complete joke and Ophra playing the race card. I'm sorry but the entire world isn't black." You forgot to mention Obama and Michelle. They are guilty as well.

    Posted By Rick Maryland : November 27, 2007 10:31 am

    November 27, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Jesse J, Chicago IL

    Jesse should shut up.

    November 27, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Charles Baugh, Ft. Walton Beach, FL

    Jesse please be quiet. No one is listening to your rant and rave. Go silently into the sunset or whatever hole that will keep you from bringing attention to yourself. Don't go away mad, just go away, you ambulance chaser and womanizer!

    November 27, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. Mati, WA

    "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.

    Posted By Ahtram, Oakton, Virginia : November 27, 2007 10:42 am"

    Yeah sure, maybe by electing a president who is African American, you'll solve the white poverty problem!

    Hillary is concerned to 'beat' the GOP because they contribute to the problem. Don't you get it?

    November 27, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Jose Card

    "Blacks must Drop Victimhood and Reclaim Dignity"

    by Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint

    published by Christian Science Monitor, November 8, 2007 edition.

    November 27, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Mike, Higley Arizona

    I find it interesting, as I see others do as well, that Rev. Jackson, like so called Rev. Sharpton ( a proven bigot and liar ) only comes out when the cameras are rolling. ( I too am awaiting that apology to the Duke University students !)It is true, the cities are a mess and there are many issues affecting the black community. BUT, I sense it is about time to belay this segregationist rhetoric and talk about Americans ! Maybe then and only then will some real progress be made

    November 27, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. AJ

    At some point, the media will realize that Jackson and Sharpton are not 'black leaders' and do not represent 'the black community'. African Americans are not a monolithic entity in this county any longer. We are not all any one thing except of African descent. Anytime something happens that involves an African American, the media runs to Sharpton and Jackson. Who appointed them as spokesmen? Nobody I know, and certainly no one in my generation. To the media at large and certain members of society at large: stop being lazy in your opinions of African Americans. Jackson and Sharpton do not represent us as a whole anymore than rappers and athletes do. We are as varied in this society as any other group, so the next time you need an opinion, don't get it from the same old attention seekers.

    November 27, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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