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. bigmikemiller,bronx,new york

    i cannot at all see myself supporting barak's candidacy for the presidency. i believe he is a set up and a plant by the republicans and they throw in that good looks mess to cover the real white republican agenda. bama is being used and is a tool and is totally unable to see it himself,therefore we have to make him see it ourselves

    November 27, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Rob, Buffalo, NY

    Why does CNN pay any attention to this media attention starved gasbag? There is real news to cover out there.

    November 27, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. Oregon

    Nothings ever good enough is it?

    Makes me sick.

    November 27, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Ian, Canton, Oh

    Jesse Jackson is such a hypocrite, he might as well get his own show on msnbc. Out of one side of his mouth he supports Barack Obama (hint: because he's black) and the other side he commends a different candidate for being the only one with a clear agenda to address poverty (unfortunately, said candidate is white). Mr. Jackson should stop trying to acheive the symbolic "first black president", and side with the candidate who is most closely aligned with his stated priorities. As a side note, I wonder what JJ would have to say if Chuck Norris said Mike Huckabee is "acting like he's black"?

    November 27, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. robert - baghdad, iraq

    Mad at Obama for "acting white".... he's just as much white as he is black, he's mixed.

    November 27, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Matt, Fremont, CA

    Ah the "Reverend" is at it again... Why, again, are African-Americans so different from the rest of us? Oh wait- they aren't. If Jesse Jackson is complaining about specifically African-Americans not being talked about enough yet, as hopefully most of us do, sees them on an equal footing with everyone in America, why do they get special attention?? There aren't "white issues", etc... Oh and since when did being white become a problem? When should "acting like he's white" ever be bad?? If someone said "Acting like he's black", Jackson, Sharpton and the NAACP would be all over that faster than you can say "hypocrisy". Thanks again, Reverend, for proving your iddiocy and irrelevance

    November 27, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Bill MacKenzie, kalamazoo, MI

    great another 6 billion program that will probably cost 10 billion or more. Just who do they (the govt) expect to pay for this. Jessie, wake up govt handouts are not the way to a bright future. Only a persons character and self determination can do that. If you want socialism and more and more social programs, move to France, last time i checked things are going great there.

    November 27, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Jason, Denver, CO

    Jackson seems incapable of seeing anything beyond the color of someone’s skin. He freely admits that Edwards was the only candidate that had a plan to deal with the plight of African-Americans as part of his platform yet continues to support Obama. The color of a person’s skin (or their gender) should not be the basis used to determine the best candidate for the presidency.

    November 27, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. monica, rochester new york

    Roberta of Sarasota, there was a lot of criticism of Jackson for saying "obama is acting white" you must have missed it. He had to step away from that ridiculous comment. Jackson and Sharpton are so one-dimensional, divisive and outdated in their vision. They are not showing good leadership. The African Americans I know, including myself, do not subscribe to their extreme views or methods.

    November 27, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. Randy Laguna Beach, Ca

    Shut up Jesse. You are the ultimate racist.

    November 27, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Mike Kelley, Newbury Park, Ca

    Dear Rev. Jackson,

    The Democrats ignore your community because they can get away with it. Your community's blind devotion to the Democrats, regardless of what they do, is the sole reason for being ignored. If you ever decided to get a brain and approach other political groups with your votes, then maybe you'd get something back. This is politics. It is not some morality play. Grow up and USE your power instead of whining about it.

    November 27, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. J.B. Stoner

    "catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community" Wow, where have I been.

    Leave it to the race pimp Jackson himself to try to hold down his own people by making the candidates commit to "giving" impoverished more stuff.

    Please Bill Cosby, if you are out there please tell Jesse that this is not the best way to deal with the plight of African-Americans.

    November 27, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Loretta Hall Marshville, N.C. 28103

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. How can you say African Americans are forgotten. They have nice homes, nice cars, college educations, good jobs. If you want nice material things you have to work for it. That goes for African AmericansY, whites, and any other color. Jesse why don't you preach and stay out of politics. The blacks and whites get along fine until you get involved. All you do is spread hate and discontent. You are the one prejudish. You people get up and call us names like white honkies, crackers, and all sorts of nasty comedians talk about us. How about your Mayor in New Orleans saying he was going to make that a chocolate city? Was that not discrimating ? I think it was. Like I say you are very discrinating yourself.

    November 27, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. The Political Junkie, Washington, DC

    Before Jesse "unleashes" on the Democrats, he needs to come clean about how he holds Wall Street hostage with the race card – then they cut him a check and he is forever silent on the issue afterwards.

    I'm all for calling people out, but not when you're benefitting from the call outs and those who you identified as victims, continue to be victims.

    FYI, Coretta Scott King was disgusted by Jesse after MLK died because she believed he used MLK's death as his personal stepping stone. Once upon a time, Jesse Jackson used to be relevant, and there are ways to continue being relevant, but unfortunately, for Jesse, he used those methods to become nothing more than a corporate extortionist.

    November 27, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Richard Tabuteau, Atlanta, GA

    Is it me or is Barack Obama under constant sabotage by Jesse Jackson? Every major endorser for any campaign consults with the candidate privately first. What exactly is he aiming to achieve without even the courtesy to consult with the Obama campaign before making outlandish accusations? If South Carolina wasn't as important in the Democratic primary as it is this year, this would be an endorsement that Obama could easily stand lose. A Jackson endorsement pays dividends there, and there only.

    November 27, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. John, Michigan

    One sad thing is that about the only result of the Jena situation was the cutting down of a tree. I am still trying to equate the stupid display of a noose with the intentional kick to someone's head. Forgive my insensitivity.
    I wish Jesse Jackson would talk of the issues of jobs and education and healthcare but apparently those are "white issues."

    November 27, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. Mike

    I wish Jesse Jackson would keep his big mouth shut. I don't see what he has done for blacks, either. He actually advocated letting black children speak a ghetto language while his children went to some of the best private schools.

    November 27, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. John, Pittsburgh

    Keep raceism alive,start a riot, follow Jessie Jackson... how does the guy call him self a reverend.

    November 27, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. Chris NYC

    Good for you Jesse! He's basically saying you can't expect our vote unless you're prepared to pay for it with cash. Not surprising, considering that the Democrat Party has promised just that for all these years. Nothing new here. Only problem is the Democrats promise isn't helping matters, it's only hurting them.

    November 27, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. John Doe, Chattanooga, Tennessee

    Dear Jesse and Al,

    You're both friggin IDIOTS!
    You're hurting the blacks in this country more than anyone or anything else ever has! The only reason you guys are constantly running around causing trouble is because neither of you can get real jobs....MORONS!

    Oh and yea......SHUT UP!

    November 27, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Poverty has no color! People are people, Jesse Jackson is an idiot.

    November 27, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Rachael Tension, Atlanta

    Has this guy even considered who is the best candidate for the job? Seems to me he is putting his vote on Obama based race alone. This should come as no surprise to anyone however; Jesse and Al and their ilk need to keep a strong racial divide to sustain their very existence. The WORST thing that could happen is that all Americans get along, thus eliminating the need for their opinions. Keep slammin Jesse. The Dem's need ya.

    November 27, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Jeanette Benson, N.C

    Rev Jackson just needs to recruit Oprah into his daily plight's, then the people might stand up and listen!

    November 27, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. xtina chicago IL

    Why is cnn censoring comments again? Oh well , my point was Jesse Jackson isn't about leadership through example and he isn't about empowering people through personal accountability. He's about looking at successful people who whether by luck or hard work have become wealthy and saying I want what you have for my people, and Im going to use the GOVERNMENT to make it happen.

    Vote conservative !

    November 27, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |

    And what's wrong with "acting like he's white." Jesse, go away until after the elections because you're not helping Obama.

    November 27, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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