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. George,Alt

    I think Rev. Jackson is correct. This country is structured in a way only some people get these bundles from washington. The country is so unbalanced. The only people who get earmarks and give to their friends are white people. So, who cares about minority anyway? I feel him to the core. Only an educated person will see where he is coming from!

    November 27, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. eddie J Kansas City MO

    I noticed they are also ignoring Polish / Americans

    November 27, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Christopher, Madison, WI

    Sorry Ms Jackson.

    Create your own party then. The whites did… it is called GOP.
    Posted By Jo, ATL GA : November 27, 2007 10:31 am

    It's one thing to hate Jesse for being an idiot or because he never had a real job in his life. But I would sum up your thoughts as racist! Just nice to see a racist represent his party (repukes)as what they really are...racists! Wow someone from the south that's racist. How's the water supply down there? Still deny climate change? Where's your God now? I guarantee you that Jesse doesn't know.

    November 27, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    email Jesse Jackson your opinion.

    November 27, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. C. Miller NY, NY

    Mr. Jackson (,

    Whether you realize it or not, your article, Most Democratic candidates are ignoring African Americans is counter productive. If you don’t think Obama and/or Edwards are going to be a net positive for the African American community, and all Americans in general, then you are wrong. Stop interfering with the progress of their campaign. It’s as if you are trying to intentionally sabotage their (mostly Obama's) candidacy. You had your opportunity. Now please let someone else have a chance.

    C Miller

    November 27, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    He carries the title "Reverend" but there is very little Reverend about him. He and Sharpie create more problems that they are worth.

    I do take exception to the term "African American". Unless you came here directly from Africa I suspect "American of African Descent" may be more fitting.

    It's a shame really, he and Sharpie could do so much more for this Country and all Americans if he/they did not constantly play the racist card. They have the talent, but not the will.

    Will racism end, I hope so, but folks like this will keep it alive as long as it suits their purpose.

    Unforunatly, there is no shakedown money in that.

    November 27, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. John, Pittsburgh

    How exactly is slavery effecting you Mia? And Dave from New york why won't you answer my question. It all sounds like an excuse to be lazy to me. I think you are confusing all white people with rich people.

    November 27, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Rev Jackson should know by now every time he speak about the black vote it divide the nation. But this is America. Most people have already made up there mind who they are going to vote for. Why make promises you can keep(ask bush)

    November 27, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. JO JO DIMAG Chicago Illionois

    I don't recall the Democrats saying anything about Italian Americans either, come to think of it! Should I be angry about this???? No one mentioned the Italians!!! HEY! What's up with that????

    November 27, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Matthew, Raleigh and North Carolina

    People always talk about not being heard... Thats the whole reason for democracy.. The gays will
    fly in with talks of enjustice even though we are almost changing our way of lives for "those people"
    then the females, then some other minority. That's what democracy is a chance to be heard in Government..Plus if Jesse wants to be able to get heard he needs to go with John Edwards.... Osama wont win...He's Black? America wont have a black president Thats truly going against the beliefs this country was founded on!!!!!! We should spend our time talking about what America really wants to know the Britney Spears's feud.... Wake up America

    November 27, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. John, Pittsburgh

    Black or white ghetto people are just ghetto people. They're just not raised right, and if they are raised right and they want out then they will get out.

    November 27, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Robert, Vivian, La

    Jena? Hanging nooses is not the same as six boys beating another unconcious and continuing to assault him.

    Mychal Bell had been arrested 5 times prior to the beating, but Jackson views him as a hero!

    Jesse Jackson is Mr. Irrelevant.

    November 27, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Steve Gilmore, Huntersville NC

    Jesse, Jesse, Jesse. Telling Obama "you are acting white". The racism that comes spewing from your mouth is utterly unconscionable. If I were he, I wouldn't accept your support. Most of the black people I know think of you as a clown and a joke that embarass them. I just wish you would do something positive and constructive for a change. You try to divide this country at every turn. YOU are what is wrong with this country.
    Now if the candidates were saying that were have all of these great programs (except for blacks), I would be right out there with you in protest. But they're not saying that. They don't specifically state ANY race, creed, color, sex or religion. You know why? Because it is against the law. So settle back in your chair and watch some "soaps" and just chill. Dude this ain't the 60's.

    November 27, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. SICKOFRACISTS, Ferndale, MI

    Without "racism" Jesse Jackson and his ilk become unemployed – you figure it out.

    November 27, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. Christopher, proud hater of the GOP and the cronies, Madison, WI

    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.
    Posted By Bill MacKenzie, kalamazoo, MI : November 27, 2007 12:15 pm

    How are things in Michigan...last time I checked your freeloading unemployed Bush backers were totally taking part in the socialist programs available to them. Who do you think you are kidding. The government is in charge of our roads, state and federal employees' healthcare, water treatment, Federal Aviation, Waste Removal, Food & Drug inspections, The list goes on and on. If you don't like some of these programs please by all means moved to the island where Ken Lay relocated to...I'm sure Bush and his cronies will soon follow. You see when you hate government like the GOP and Bush you attempt to destroy in the name of capitalism. You know privatizing our armed forces, healthcare...everything. How has that worked out. How much has this war cost your unholy offspring, you selfish pig!

    November 27, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Dave Cheverly, MD

    The translation is that The Clinton Campaign tugged on Jessies leash and signaled him to say what he is saying. This is to counteract the Oprah effect just launched yesterday.
    Jessie wants to play it safe and ride the fence as Hillary tries to do on issues. He would really like to see Obama win, but at the same time does not want to anger the Clintons. Plus with a Hillary win Jessie can go on complaining about racism and minority rights as he is getting paid to do so. Even though the U.S. had 8 years of Bill Clinton and still have the same issues and some worst for minorities.

    November 27, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Lee, Miami Gardens, Florida

    Listen, Reverend Jackson. I am a 64 y/o African American female; I was a teenage/young adult during the Civil Rights era. I grew up in the deep South;I speak for my self; I do not need you or al sharpton to lead me. I think on my own, with that said Reverend Jackson, you should screen the black folk that need a leader and see what your count would be. Obama is doing a fanstatic job, he has spoken out on black issues on several occasions, what do you want from him, blood? Please do not stir up racism in this campaign. The fifties and sixties are gone where black folk depend on civil right leaders to fight their battle, no more. We have a new generation of young folk that is capable of thinking for themselves, don't you agree?
    Obama 08!

    November 27, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Wrong, Reverend. The problem is that _you_ are no longer relevant, having marginalized yourself by association with other irrelevancies like Sharpton.

    November 27, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Bob, NY, NY

    Does Jesse realize that John Edwards is FOR the death penalty and does not support suspending this until the issues with DNA testing and poor legal representation are dealt with?

    November 27, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Tawana Brawley, NYC

    I agree wit da revrendah!

    November 27, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. JP, New London, CT

    With America becoming as diverse a population as it has become in the last 100 years, you would think the racism issues would come to a halt. Living in the city, I'm surrounded by people of all races and religions. Are we oppressed by geography, race, religion, or our own actions as individuals? I know undereducated people of all races... and it's either undereducated by ability, or by desire. But that doesn't mean they're being descriminated against, it just means they are undereducated. It is what it is. There are reasons behind everything. I was never a slave owner, nor were my ancestors. We were immigrants to this country, just like the first settlers. We all have the same opportunities. The government provides us all an education to an extent, and after that is up to us. You work hard for what you desire... There are men and women of all races who have educations, fortune and fame. The list is enless. America is the land of opportunity. Every day we see immigrants coming to this country from all over the world, starting from nothing, and becomining sucessful. Most of them are given nothing but citizenship. And they're not protesting in the streets for more of a fare shake than what they are entitled to. I understand there is still alot of ignorance in this country amongst each other... but that should be handled on a case by case basis, and every instance of ignorance should not effect everyone. We have the right to our own destiny... How hard you are willing to work for yours is on you...

    November 27, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. Travis, Columbus, OH

    Wow, Christohper from Madison, you sure missed the point of Jo from Atlanta. Just shows how much you are blinded by your hate of the GOP, you don't detect the sarcasm of someone who agrees with you! On a more serious note, I am so sick and tired of the lie that Republicans have not done anything for blacks just because they don't pander to them. Lincoln was a Republican; Eisenhower, who sent the troops to Arkansas to desegregate the schools, was a Republican; the Civil Rights Act of the 1960's was passed by a greater margin of Republicans than Democrats and yet somehow Republicans never cared about blacks? I wish the African American community would come to realize that the values of independence, self-reliance, and community are values that they share with many Republicans. It's so sad that the Democrats have been able to take blacks' votes for granted for at least the last 50 years.

    November 27, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. Brad Hamilton, NY NY

    They aren't ignoring blacks, Jessie, but they are ignoring you, as have the American people for fifteen years or more because you are an obnoxious racist loser

    November 27, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Shawn Green

    Jesse Jackson should be reminded that Sen. Barack Obama's mother is white & father is Kenyan. He is not 100% African American. Maybe Sen. Obama didn't find it prudent to march in the Jena protest. After all he is a senator and possibly future President of the United States.

    November 27, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. bill Farmingville N.Y.

    Sorry Jesse , but the Democrats are busy pandering to the Illegal Aliens !

    November 27, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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