July 9th, 2008
04:25 PM ET
15 years ago

Jesse Jackson apologizes for comments critical of Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/09/art.jackson.gi.jpg caption="Jackson apologized for his comments about Obama Wednesday."](CNN) — The Rev. Jesse Jackson issued an apology to Barack Obama Wednesday for making what he called a "crude and hurtful" remark about the Illinois senator's recent comments directed toward some members of the black community.

According to Jackson, a Fox News microphone picked up comments he meant to deliver privately that seemed to disparage the presumptive Democratic nominee for appearing to lecture the black community on morality.

Jackson, who has endorsed Obama, didn't elaborate on the context of his remarks, except to say he was trying to explain that Obama was hurting his relationship with black voters by recently conducting "moral" lectures at African-American churches.

Watch: Jackson apologizes to Obama

Jackson's apology came a few hours before Fox News planned to air the remarks.

Speaking to CNN Wednesday, Jackson said he feels "very distressed" over the comments.

"This is a sound bite in a broader conversation about urban policy and racial disparities. I feel very distressed because I'm supportive of this campaign and with the senator, what he has done and is doing," he said. "I said he comes down as speaking down to black people. The moral message must be a much broader message. What we need really is racial justice and urban policy and jobs and health care. That's a range of issues on the menu.

"Then I said something I regret was crude. It was very private. And very much a sound bite," he also said.

In a statement issued earlier Wednesday to CNN, Jackson said, "For any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation may have caused, I apologize. My support for Senator Obama’s campaign is wide, deep and unequivocal. I cherish this redemptive and historical moment."

Over the course of the campaign season, Obama has at times directed criticism directly to the black community, most sharply in a Chicago speech on Father's Day that criticized some men for failing in their duties as parents.

"They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it," Obama said then.

"You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled — doubled — since we were children. We know the statistics: that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison," he also said.

The Obama campaign had no immediate comment.

Full story

soundoff (400 Responses)
  1. Marc PDX

    Another reverend helps out Barak! Deja vu all over again...

    July 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Matt Hogue

    Doesn't seem like a big issue to me.

    July 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Nevada

    FOX is the lowest of the low. Nothing professional on that news station...

    July 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Gene

    Wow.. has anyone ever heard this man apologize for anything before? Barack.. I'm impressed 🙂

    July 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Lisa

    Even Jesse Jackson don't like Obama.

    July 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Belle

    YIKES....now we are apologizing for criticizing???

    Jesse Jackson has NOTHING to apologize for. Obama is just a man, he is not a God.

    July 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. John B. From New Hampshire

    or should i just say, "Fox Noise"

    July 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Lisa

    Jesse Jackson was a closet Hillary supporter.

    July 9, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Sig, Los Angeles CA

    This only helps Obama.... thank you Rev. Jackson for opening that big mouth of yours.

    July 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Willy

    Can't wait ti see how the Obama loving media will try to not cover this or cover it up. The truth is out!

    July 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Jerry in Boston

    Soryy Mr. Jackson, but you can't unring a bell. You may not have wanted us to hear your comments, but you still made them.

    Comments made in private are usually a better reflection of your real opinions than your public pandering.

    July 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. TRUTH

    Obama has known his daughters since birth. Jackson didn't know of his illegitimate daughter for a long while. I don't want to hear about morals from Jackson or McCain, both who cheated on their wives.

    July 9, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Malcolm Little

    As a black man I'd rather hear from Obama than Jesse.

    Jackson should be holding up this Columbia/ Harvard grad, with a beautiful wife, two adorable daughters, and an unselfish, serve the public attitude as THE EXAMPLE for African American Men in the Chicago area.

    No crabs in the barrel ... or the rest of us will stomp on the pulling crab!

    July 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. bernj

    Well...Jesse....mmmm...dude I understand your point but Obama is right. Black folks, including the one writing this, can't blame everything on "the collective moral responsibility of government and the public policy which would be a corrective action for the lack of good choices that often led to their irresponsibility" because to do so is a cop out.

    It would be best if Jesse kept his comments and observations, private or otherwise, to himself at this point. It is a new day. And it will be a better day for everyone.

    July 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. R.I.F.

    So a ticker for this, but not one for McCain's "killing Iranians" joke yestarday. The media is becoming disgusting.

    July 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Peter E

    So liberals, where are all your 'he's a racist' comments?

    July 9, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. addis - observer

    a very good statement issued by Jessie jackson!

    July 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Sheri

    Jesse Jackson: What on earth is wrong with him?

    July 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Biff, hussein Biffington

    Cue the racist comments..... IN..... 3...2....1.....

    July 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. TONY

    Is anyone really surprised with anything that comes out of the mouths of those circus clowns, Jackson or Sharpton.

    Neither wants Obama to become president for one reason and that reason is:

    They could NO LONGER blame the white man for keeping the black man down. The "so-called" careers of the Rev.'s Sharpton, Jackson, Wright, etc.etc. hvae been made blamiing the white man for everything that is wrong in the black community.

    If Obama, even though he is BI-RACIAL, is elected to the highest office in America, their weak, ridiculous, whiny excuses goe right out the window and that will be the end of them.


    July 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. ddwag

    Jesse Jackson has been in the spotlight for way too long, and seems like he has nothing to offer except be in the news by creating controversy, and then apologizing. The news should ignore him as he continues to become insignificant in the national spotlight as each day goes by.

    July 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. Jillian

    I firmly believe Jesse Jackson is the root of all race problems in the US!

    July 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. Michelle

    Haha...even the Reverend Jesse Jackson is against him.

    July 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Kwesi Mfume...

    Just get the vote out where you have influence Jesse.

    July 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. 60 YO white female , Springfield, VA

    How about a real apology ?

    Not this ""For any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation MAY have caused, I apologize,"

    July 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16