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. lavelle Rochester,ny

    Why does he talk? Does he know that my generation doesnt even respect him as our black leader anymore? I think he spends too much of his time talking to the communities that will never research Barack Obama and his policies for urban America. My question to jesse jackson is what has he done for urban America?

    November 27, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Derek, NY - NY

    Jesse proves once again that dinosaurs still do exist.

    November 27, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. DP, Fullerton, CA

    Person like Jesse Jackson is not suitable to be called Reverend. I know there are many, but Jesse is one of them. He is not only very hypocrite, arrogant, bad tempered, bossy, full of hatred, etc but also oftenly showing how racist he is. He likes to condemn other ethnics except black, always praise the black community and never praise other ethnic groups. What such a disgusting behavior.

    November 27, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. JJ Jax, FL

    There is some relevance to what Jackson is saying, but the Democrats can't drop whatever they're doing everytime they hear the world 'African-American' in the media and STILL expect to win elections. AND YES, I AM AN AFRICAN AMERICAN!

    November 27, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Mike, Tallahassee FL

    Please Jesse, your mantra is getting old. Just shut up and go away. We all have issues. Black, white, Hispanic, middle class, poor, taxes, insurance, health. Be a real champion for ALL the people and ALL the issues like the candidates are trying to be.

    November 27, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Harry,Iowa

    I really respect Rev Jackson. If were not him black people could be ignored in this country and will not be heard. I think what he is saying here is, why are candidates campaigning in other states, florida, boston,Philadelphia and texas and not other places like Mississippi, lousiana or see African American clouds been cheered up? Are they not Americans or have issues to be addressed like global warming? I think I have heard about immigration which is latinos issue. Sometimes we need to sit back and be realistic! I am a white republican voting democrat and I think there are many people who Cnn pay attention to like former clinton adviser who is always on cnn. I don't see outrage with that. Mr. Jackson has a right to tell his story. Period!

    November 27, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. xtina chicago IL

    sorry, cnn gods. My comment didn't get censored after all. I was just impatient. THANK YOU

    November 27, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Bruce, Des Moines, IA

    You know, for the most part I have respected what Rev. Jackson has done for civil rights and humanity as a whole, but one question really does come to mind: Where do you draw the line on fighting for the rights of the disadvantaged minority and being apart of a racist ideology? It goes without saying that if his comments about Sen. Obama are accurate,then they were highly inappropriate. Imagine if someone said a white person was acting black in the public spotlight. They would have been dismissed as racist and derrogatory towards the African American community. And this article quotes him as saying that the candidates will not reap "our" votes? Isn't that filled with racial overtones, that apparently 1)Rev Jackson is the spokesman for all blacks in the U.S. 2)that all black care about the same issues 3)all blacks are the same political party and 4)that he even has the right to claim that an race is to be given special considerations. It is understood that the white majority would get most of the attention, as it is the majority and thats not necessarily fair, but again can you imagine if Sen Edwards got up and said "Time to deal with issues for white people"?

    November 27, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. annonymous,dallas,texas

    I a white and I know the priority of this country is out of line. I would think may be that is why we need to kill people like Kenneday. I strongly think instead of starting the flight to the moon or putting all our resources on global warming we should try and help the poor in this country,not meaning black poor but all poor people. I am glad Edward did and showed some backbone in his party. Without Jackson probably you could not have payed attention just like America hasn't in many years.

    November 27, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. william

    Obama drops 9% in the past 10 days:

    November 27, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Dave, New York, NY

    I'm surprised to see so much venom in the comments against Jesse Jackson.

    C'mon folks, this is America and he has a right to fight for and end to discrimination and racism.

    what is wrong with people, that they don't believe racism is still a HUGE problem in our country?

    I love America, and I want to see it healed from the wounds of slavery and racism. Mr. Jackson is only trying to bring about higher consciousness and a solution to the problems that we need to solve.

    We would do well to hear him out, instead of acting with derision toward him.

    November 27, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Jane , Ohio

    Typical desparate attention seeker: full of nonsense. I am undecided as yet who to vote for, but I KNOW what I hear and I have heard Hillary talk about Black American issues (especially women) for years! Does the 'Rev' think we're deaf, or just stupid? Shame on him...

    November 27, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. Donna Urbandale, Iowa

    I am so sick and tired of people like Jesse thinking his group is owed something others are not. Many of us, including myself, are working 3 jobs to make ends meet and to save our homes. No one gave us a home or education...we worked for it and are struggling to save it. I am a widow to young to retire hoping I can hang on to see the middle class come back. In the mean time, I don't have time to ask for anything, I need to go to work.

    November 27, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Sam Gentry Elmira,NY

    I would like to point out Mr Jackson that it is not only the Blacks that are being forgot about it is the middle class as a whole.

    November 27, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. TC Minneapolis MN

    Why exactly should a presidential candidate show up to a Jena 6 march? Symobolic hatred is A LOT LESS horrifying than actual physical violence. I don't agree with the guy who put up the noose, but I'll tell you what. I'll back that guy over the guy who tried to kill a guy. COME ON! Those African American kids lost all sympathy the minute they used their fists to physically beat someone. You don't kill someone because they offended you with a symbol! And shut up Jesse Jackson. You're an opportunistic attention monger.

    November 27, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. roger, conway sc

    GO AWAY...if you are not happy with the dems vote know they really really care about you and your is sad to say but black people DO NOT need you to speak on their behalf...people do not like your message or support what you say...GO AWAY

    November 27, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Nicosia, Petersburg,Va

    As a young African American woman I am sick and tired of Jesse and Al thinking that they speak for the entire African American community. If people would just ignore them they will fade into oblivion. Now that I have gotten that off of my chest. To address some of you: To Rick in NY if you actually understand how some of the laws are written especially as far as Welfare Programs you would understand that the only way you can government support as a parent, the father cannot be in the home or provide support for it. And Matt in California, NO we aren't in different than you but dear step out of your vaccuum and understand that there are minority(black, hispanic, asian)issues that you(as a white man) will never understand.

    November 27, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Scott, Chicago, IL

    When will Jesse Jackson just go away? He causes more harm than good and does nothing but keep the country from moving forward...

    November 27, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. John, Washington DC

    Does this guy ever have anything positive to say about African-Americans? He's constantly equating African Americans with plight and poverty and 'catastrophe'. That guy sets back the race relations clock every single time he opens his mouth.

    November 27, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. RH---Hodgenville, KY

    This character has done more harm than good for our country. He spends his time trying to stir up fires wherever possible to get media coverage and has had no real positive contributions to our society.
    He reminds me of what Lou Dobbs stated about George "W". "He is more like a character that came out of a Bonanza episode"!
    Give us all a break!

    November 27, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Chris, Akron Ohio

    I cannot believe it, someone is actually talking about healing the wounds of slavery and racism. I mean slavery has not been legal for well over 100 years. I was not there and it is not my fault that people were forced into slavery, get over it! You were not slaves yourselves, get over it. Blacks have just as many rights, if not more because they are always playing the race card, than anyone else so get over it!!! Jesse Jackson is a moron. I have black friends and they can't stand him. Vote Clinton in '08.

    November 27, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. Jim Warren, Decatur GA

    Jesse Jackson and his comments are no longer relevant. He provides no leadership to his own community. He simply snipes and points out the shortcomings he "observes" in others. We will unfortunately have to listen to his grandstanding thoughout the campaign. Then he will once again submerge into obscurity until another perceived racial slight gives him something to blather about.

    Jesse, get a real job and stop professing to be the voice of "black" America.

    November 27, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Angelina Julie Lexington Kentucky

    You say John Edwards cares and supports African American issues, yet you're voting for Obama. Now THAT sounds like racism.

    November 27, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. James, Miami, Fl

    Who is Jesse Jackson?

    November 27, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Ryan Indianapolis

    Seriously is this guy even relevent anymore, sorry Jesse nobody is even listening to your racist views anymore.

    November 27, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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