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. BarryO

    It's spiraling out of control very quickly for Obama. FISA pressure, Iraq and gun control comments and now this. I suspect the left thinks they got themselves a trojan horse on their hands. As an independent this is fun to watch. Let's see what McCain does.

    July 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Arlene

    Maybe Obama's comments would have been helpful to the "reverend" Jackson some years ago..................

    July 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. J.S.

    It's getting pretty bad when we have to apologize for everything–every day there is something either Obama is apologizing for or someone is apologizing to him Geesh

    July 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. davidius

    So what did he say? Is it a big secret or what?

    July 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Renee

    Man, with FRIENDS like some of these "Preachers" who needs enemies?

    July 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. jeff rothstein

    So Nevada, I see your a political junckie. Yup you can repeate baseless accusations about FOX. Did you hurt yourself?

    July 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. Jim

    Jesse has no business talking about morality since he became a baby-daddy. Anyone who listens to that moron is not the crispest chip in the bag.

    July 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Swalker327

    Speaking as a 40 year old African American woman, I must say that Jackson is a self centered, self serving jerk. HE DOES NOT SPEAK FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS. Who cares what he said - he is a total loser who cheats on his wife! Maybe HE should listen to the words that Barack said!! I think what Barack said was right on point and in my opinion Jesse Jackson is what's wrong with the voice the media decides to portray in our race.


    OBAMA MAMA '08

    July 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Loretta from California

    me thinks he might be revealing a little jealousy. The Rev. Jesse Jackson has considered himself "THE" leader in the Black community.

    He might think that Senator Obama may be upstaging him a little.

    Time to take a time-out Rev. Jackson. Breathe deeply. INHALE AND EXHALE. You will be fine.


    July 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Anton

    Well what do ya expect...anyone who turns their back toward a church they went to for twenty years, disses his the former reverend who married him and baptized his two daughters, I would probably say the same thing that Jackson did. BRAVO!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Pennsylvania

    I agree this isn't a big issue, but if it had happened to anyone else, Rev. Jackson would be all over it calling for their heads. He should remember this the next time he is calling for someone's resignation and realize people make mistakes.

    July 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. OBAMA 08

    Hmmm ... it doesn't surprise me that FOX does "stupid news"!!!!! Moving on!!!!

    Obama 08!!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Barb Wilkerson

    Well, Hello!I It is about time that someone called these absent, negligent fathers to a higher calling. I say bully for Obama!!!! Of course Obama (and I) realize there are many, many black fathers who are fulfilling their Dad roles in exemplary ways. There are far too many, however, who neglect their children, and it is hurting them, and society as a whole.

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. TONY

    FoxNews, what a joke. Equal to nothing more than tabloid journalism!

    Biased, conservative, extremely right-wing, inaccurate reporting!

    It's like watching a reality tv show. Not worth taking seriously!

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Franky

    All I wanna say is not easy being White-Mexican or as they like to say it now, "Mexican-American", LOL!!! I mean, you gotta love this country! LOL!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. MR-TN

    Are you kidding me!





    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. NC Dem Voter

    Maybe Obama should find some new ministers to hang out with. I am sure John McCain can give him some pointers. After all, he is the better candidate.

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. PoRo

    I don't think Rev. Jackson ment any harm by his remarks, but I'm sure the media will try to use it as a wedge issue between Barack and Jessie.

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Jay from the west

    Maybe CNN could shed a small bit of light on what it was Jackson actually said.

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Jackson

    Yeah! Fox made Jesse Jackson put his foot in his mouth! Not like he has a long history of doing that without help....

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Independent Voter

    Oops! Jesse's going to get his friend, Barack, back into line. We wouldn't want BO to lose any credibility with his fellow church members by suggesting that they shape up.

    Jesse's worried that Barack is in danger of breaking the code of silence on owning up to any negative actions or view on the part of his own.

    Don't worry, Jesse, we're not buying what Barack has to sell. He can ditch all the ministers he wants, including you, and we'll all know it's just an act until he gets elected.

    Look forward to seeing you and Rev Wright on the podium in front of the Capitol for the inauguration. Why not bring the choir and the whole congregation? While you're at it, invite Father Pflegler.

    Come on Down!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. jchristensen

    FOX is the lowest of the low for accidentally catching a comment on a mic? You liberals would love to squash anything – radio, books, articles..etc. that show you for who you really are.

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Peter E

    Imagine if it was any other politician who was criticizing black families. Obama supporters would be all over it, screaming 'racist.' But I guess it's ok only for Obama to say all these things...

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Now why doesn't Jesse Jackson go apologize to those Duke University lacrosse players that he slandered. Oh wait, they aren't black – no chance of that. He's nothing but a reverse racist, time and time again.

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. AtlantaMan

    What exactly did Jesse Jackson say?!

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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