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.

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soundoff (400 Responses)
  1. Patty

    FOX News rocks!

    July 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Kevin K

    Hey Nevada...Fox News is the highest of the high...ratings

    July 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Mark

    noone but the news crew that caught it has heard what he said, yet he pre-empts the possible airing of them by appologizing.

    Something tells me that he didn't just voice his displeasure,but that he used some "interesting" words to describe Sen. Obama.

    And by "interesting", I mean Don Imus-like "interesting".

    Should make for some fun comparisons.

    July 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Mike

    Just hearing the Rev apologize for something is pretty remarkable. Although I still never heard anything about an apology to the Duke Lacrosse players that he and Al Sharpton publicly berated for the apparent (use loosely) rape of that stripper which, of course, turned out not to be true. Why no apology there, I wonder?

    July 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. MARYANN Oswego IL

    I thought the Jackson family was on Barack's side...Chicago politics...Rev Jesse Jackson will now be looked down on by the DNC...just like Bill and Hillary!!!! God forbid anyone says anything sour about THE SAVIOR BARACK....I want 2 new NOMINEES...wake up AMERICA...a very sad lifelong DEMOCRAT from CT,lived in SC,TX and ILLINOIS....

    July 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Melissa

    Jackson's just sorry he got caught.

    July 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Enough Already!

    This is an issue that needs to be addressed in homes of all ethnic backgrounds. These are the times we live in.

    July 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. new york

    now were seeing the real obama

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Houston

    So Nevada is of the mindset that to be a professional news organization, negative news should be withheld (if you are a democrat). Nevada must be running his state's New York Times satalite office.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Hawk

    Why is this breaking news? Jesse shouldn't have to apologize to anyone, lets keep it real.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Jasmine

    Hey, Nevada explained to me why is this FNC's fault and not Jesse's. Who spoke these repulsive words.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Texas

    Best way to keep FOX from reporting it is pretty simple – don't say it.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. JDC // Ohio

    After having a "lovechild," Jackson is the pot calling the kettle "black!"

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Jeff Roth

    No doubt, Obama is not "black enough" for the Reverend Jackson. Typical old machine Democratic entitlement politics. Racism in this country runs deep AND both ways.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. steve

    Just want to know what the mike picked up !

    These are worse than a bunch of school girls.. always back stabbing each other – so power hungry, power grubbing. Jackson with his high and mighty talk proves he's slime.

    However it just might be a ploy to get the whites to support Obama by trying to make it seem like there is a Wedge between Obama and the insane "Reverand" Jackson.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. jeff rothstein

    Jackson is one of the biggest race baiters out there. This is a guy who has been in front of the camera for 40 years now. He shows up when ever a mic is hot for him to cry racism. Boo hoo. So what is it, this guy is a victim of a hate crime by FOX. They should apologize TO him. If they are going to have people on who don’t understand how TV works I guess it’s a set up. FOX was just waiting for a black man to be a potential nominee so they could invite a black leader who would screw up and speak while the mic was hot and FOX even had them say derogatory things towards another black person. WOW. Yup. Nothing pofessinal bout that.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. New

    Nevada...just because it happened to be a Fox microphone you feel the urge to attack Fox??

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. B

    despite what the media will tell you jesse is irrelevant and doesn't speak for the entire african american race.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Bill

    Jesse Jackson is just ticked he isnt the guy fronting the ticket. He is only marginally better than publicity seeking dirtbag Al Sharpton. If I was Barack, I would not want either one of them anywhere near me. They dont care about the voters, even the african american voters. They only care about themselves. I am not a Barack supporter per say. But he doesnt need the likes of those two to mess anything up for him.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |

    Wake up America. Obama is absolutely correct when he says that the moral and ethical attitudes of the Black community have declined. Family values, responsibility, and education are vital to all of our citizens. Keep it up Barack. You can only be a positive influence on the youth of this country, no matter what their color is.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. KF

    Oh ho...Jesse Jackson is apologizing for insulting comments made publicly. That is too priceless. Probably it isn't a big deal, but I gotta tell you all, I'll be smiling all day. Quick, America, let's throw an overblown media-played-up temper tantrum about it and get him fired!

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Ben

    Boycott FOX. They are sick!

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Susan, PA

    Rev Wright, Rev Jesse Jackson !!!!
    Now you know who keeps the black man down, another balck man.

    And this FOX News. urgh.....
    Its beens almost 5 years since I watched it. I have blocked it on my TV. Is Hannity still wih Fox ?

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Vladimir

    So what did Jesse say? Why don't we have a clip or text? Could it be that CNN is keeping the tape from us? Trying to help Obama? What a joke of a "news" source. Blitzer's show and CNN's coverarge should be required to post "paid for by Barack Obama."

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Kevin

    I can't wait to see all the racists who comment on this story. I can hear them crawling out of their caves.

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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