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