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. H Arnold; Chicago, IL

    Wheter you agree with him or not, Rev. Jackson is the conscience of Black America still. Black Americans are still followers of him in some respects. It is too bad that the Reverend feels the way he does about most of the candidates, but be assured that all the candidates will look at some of his recommendations and try to implement them in the best interest of Black America and all Americans.

    November 27, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. anna, Appleton, WI

    Jackson is hardly in any position to pass judgement on anyone! Adultery, lies,need I go on?! The guy is a loser and hypocrit. He is a disgrace to the human race.

    November 27, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. DOC, Virginia Beach, VA

    The Rev Jesse Jackson just needs to retire and go sit in a rocking chair and let it all go. I am so sick and tired of seeing him and Al Sharpton continue to slash out at anyone who is not totally committed to their beliefs. Get over it.

    November 27, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Tom McCann Cincinnati OHIO

    Justice was served with Jena 6, so why would a candidate get involved? You don't try to kill someone just because they made a symbolic gesture of hatred.

    November 27, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Sick and Tired, TX

    Dave in New York....
    Women have been slaves to men in this country (or in all of humanity) A LOT LONGER than any race, color or creed. Women are left to raise children of men who run to greener pastures instead of facing and accepting their responsibility, women have been under-paid for the same jobs, women have been given less of a voice because men see women as weak. Don't talk to me about racism and discrimination....Women have been singing in that choir for centuries.

    November 27, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. Robert Archdale, NC

    Does Jackson even work for a living or just shoot hid mouth off and expect everyone to support him? What has he done to improve anything except talk? It is about time, Jackson with the other big mouths work to improve the conditions and stop tellimg everyone else waht to do. Talk is cheap!

    November 27, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. Pam, Long Beach, CA

    I think the time for racist Jesse Jackson is over. Obama is "acting white"? What does that mean? So is he saying that my Black friends are really my White friends? Or am I now Black because I have Black friends? Or should I just not have any friends of difference races, according to Jesse? We are all Americans and his continued diviseness is racist and ugly. We're all struggling and we need to be just Americans and stop being divided by race or religion or ethnicity. It's disgusting.

    November 27, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Rob Lotze Louisville, KY

    As I respect the intentions of Mr. Jackson and the need to address the poverty of this nation, his tactics, and comments, only lead to increased separation between races. We are all Americans and a line should not be drawn as he does when he says, "our votes". He is separating by race and not by the needs of individuals.

    November 27, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Walt, Belton, TX

    Guess Hillary, et al, forgot to kiss the might one's ring. Shame, shame. Where's his little buddy? Don't want to leave Al out of the limelight....

    November 27, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Frank Honolulu Hawaii

    You're going after the wrong folks Jesse.

    November 27, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Lisa O'Neal, Millsboro, DE

    Why does Jesse Jackson expect whites to take care of the African-American population. They should do as the white population and get out and work and pull themselves up and stop expecting hand-outs and have the way paved for them. The white population are the ones being discriminated against. We have to go to work everyday so we can pay our way. Jesse likes to keep the racial pot stirred and then blame it on our candidates and everyone else in this country. He needs to crawl back under his rock and stay there.

    November 27, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Doc,R, NC


    In today's America we working men and women all get the same deal. I'd agree that it's a lousy deal but it's not exclusively a black situation.
    Why don't you start arguing for the rights and freedoms of all Americans? The majority of this country has gotten past this petty racist stuff and those who haven't are a dying breed.

    November 27, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Tom McCann Cincinnati OHIO

    Jesse claims that John Edwards is the only African American supporter, YET he's backing OBAMA. What does that say about Jesse? RACIST MUCH?

    November 27, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Chris Haynes, Winston-Salem, NC

    Plight? Get out of bed, go to school and get a job. Your "plight" will be over when you stop waiting for a handout and quit being violent.

    Hey Jesse, looks like you don't have many supporters on this forum.

    Go Duke Lacrosse!

    November 27, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. ann k ., winston - salem.

    did U ever notice Jesse hangs around black people, helps black people such as the "Durham accuser" who are "victimized" (NOT) and calls for bigger government, more government control and for the govt' to help black people . But he is divided when it comes to helping his fellow man who is not black. Apparently we're NOT all equal , nor do we all qualify for Jesse's help.

    November 27, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Angry Mike, South Pole

    Unbelievable, something Dems & Republicans finally agree on: Jesse Jackson please go away! He agrees with Edwards, but supports Obama because of race. By the way, I am still waiting for the apology to the Duke lacrosse players as well, but I guess if they were not from wealthy families up north, the girl in Durham never would have been a stripper.

    November 27, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. John, Chicago

    I find it puzzling how a man that cheated on his wife and fathered another child because of it supposedly believes so much in God and the Bible but has the nerve to critisize ANYBODY in this world. I'm sorry, but wasn't "Thou shalt not commit adultery" one of the Ten Commandments? That's called being a hypocrite, and he has lost all credibility with many people in this world, including myself.

    November 27, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. William R McDonald Riverdale Ga

    Bless his heart Jesse still hasn't learned to include all people when he talks about injustices,just Blacks.
    Jesse and whats his name could make better use of their time

    November 27, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. Stepehen McDowell, Shippensburg, PA

    I take offense at the comment that he is acting like he is white! Just what do white people act like? If I said Edwards actted like he was black I'd be a racist. This is a two way street folks. So what do us white folks act like?

    November 27, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. Jim , Phila. PA

    Jesse just looking for another Handout, Ask how many Afican Americans he help financialy over the years. Ask Jesse where he lives I know he doesn't live in my City

    He is doing more damage to the African Americans them they are doing to their selfs they have every opportunity out there but instead they have Babies and the Fathers are either missing or in Jail there are plenty that take avantage of the education and get out of the hood why can't the other

    November 27, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. Tre_D

    I'm grateful for what Jesse Jackson stands for and what he did back in the 60's with Dr. Martin Luther King. Helping my black race reach a new level in society. Making our voice be heard. But I'm a little dis-hearted of his comments about Obama saying he is acting like he's white. Mr. Jackson shame on YOU! You know better than that! You just proved the stereotype of black people. And that is always bitter and trying to bring one another down like crabs trying to get out of a bucket. Can't you see that Sen. Edwards is only using the black votes in his favor to get elected. When he does everything he said is out the window and you'll be on Larry King Live crying about how he didn't keep his promise. So Jesse help build not tear down a person. We need to stay positive about our black race not negative.

    November 27, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Matt, Albany, GA

    I'm unleashing my apathy on Jesse.

    November 27, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. watson, chicago, illinois

    As a black man myself, I am extremely disppointed with Obama.

    Although half white, he calls himself a black candidate, but he has ignored the black people in his issues. He has used his skin color to gain personal benefits in getting to harvard university, to get into senate, and now running for president. Obama is a hyprocrite.

    November 27, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Ken Clark, Sarasota, FL

    For all those who said that if a white man were accused of acting black there would be a riot, did you forget about our first "black" President - Bill Clinton?

    November 27, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Jeffrey Fine Boston MA

    It seems disgraceful and an affront to blacks that they are prepared to be represented by The Reverand Jackson. He seems to thrive fiscally very well by promulgating his agenda. In my view blacks are equal in every respect to whites. I disdain the lack of the pursuit of information avaalable to working class whites who opt not to review on a daily basis all of the available information.
    Jeffrey Fine

    November 27, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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