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. Mark

    So what did he say? that is so bad that CNN cant play it??

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. Mike Ft Collins , CO

    Jesse just because you don't give the black community credit for being intelligent doesn't mean Barack has to. The truth hurts, and Barack told the truth. I didn't hear you jump on Bill Cosby when he made similar remarks.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. hank hollister

    What has Fox have to do with what jese jackon said. Blaming the messenger is idiotic.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. Joe in NJ

    No one should ever have to apologize for comments they have made nor should we accept such apologies. Jackson is just trying to save face for speaking his mind, knowing that his comments won't be viewed favorably. Go ahead, Jesse. Tell us how you really feel. It would be nice if more people were honest and spoke their true feelings instead of pretending to stand behind someone or something just for the sake of party unity or because they don't want to go against popular opinion.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. George

    Jackson is a racist. He would never apologize to a another race if they said the same as NOBAMA.

    This is all about race if not, Jackson would not have apologized.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. livewire

    This has nothing to do with Fox News! The story is being broken on CNN! Nothing like playing the usual blame game.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Pennsylvania

    And the Clinton News Network is any better, Nevada?

    It's pick your posion with major news media.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. CB

    Cannot wait to hear what Jackson said.

    Jackson insulting Obama can only help Obama with white voters anyway. It makes Obama look more moderate.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Jim Beam

    Obama has more support now from Americans than Jesse even did. Methinks he's a bit jealous.

    I do wish we had the old Jesse, the one who marched with MLK. instead, we have a shakedown artist.

    And shame on him for delivering it right to the doorstep of the anti-minority machine, Fox.

    Yes We CAN! And we Will in November!

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. shyril

    Jesse Jackson use to preach morality until his own personal morality was revealed. Poor Jesse anything for attention.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Greg. PA

    Jesse and his pal Al should just shut up, why does the media even give them the time of day.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. R.I.F.

    So a ticker about this but not one about McCain's "killing Iranians" joke? The media is a joke.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Alphonso M. in Washington, DC

    FOX news is the lowest of the low like "Nevada" stated. I am never surprised when the do something stupid. I would never give them my rating by tuning in to their station. I get pissed off when I accidentally turn to the channel. They'll do anything and everything to get more exposure.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Jay House

    Aren't we entitled to at least know what exactly Jesse Jackson said, CNN?

    I'm sure if it was Obama's opposition that said it, CNN would have a special on it tonight and would be looping the tape over and over.

    What is with the double-standard, CNN?

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Jan

    So the black caucus got to Jesse too? Nevada, Fox is a fair and balanced news station–one of the few.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |

    The media is nobodies friend and it does not take a rocket scienistist to know that you don't open your mouth and say anything that you will regert around the media or anywhere in the vacinity of the media.

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Ron

    Blah-Blah-Blah--all a bunch of garbage. Who cares what Jessie Jackson or Obama says or thinks!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Matt R

    You blame Fox for Jesse's comments? Why not throw George W in there for blame while you're at it?

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. James William

    None issue... let move on

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. Rob

    FOX is the lowest of the low? You mean b/c it's the only conservative news station out there? To liberals, it's the lowest of the low, just like Clinton News Network is to conservatives 🙂

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Billy, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Wait, so it's Fox News' fault that Jesse Jackson made negative remarks about the golden boy? The guy is a race baiter, plain and simple. Jesse Jackson is a disgrace to the civil rights leaders before him.

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. nelly

    I was wondering when he would open his mouth, but to say it to fox is the lowest of low. Why do people expect Obama to solve problems that they have failed to solve over the decades.

    African Americans we have problems that need us- our families and churches to address not a single politician. Jesse go back to church
    and stay there is you do not have anything good to say.

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. paul

    Cool so we need to over look what he said because it was the fault of that evil Fox News microphone.

    Had it been a CNN microphone any and all of his disparaging commits would have been bleeped out.

    The fact is Jackson is upset that Obama has gotten farther in this race then he ever did. And Obama speaking out about black men running from their responsibilities is based on facts. This might be the only time most people would agree with Obama.

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Danielle

    Another "insert foot in mouth" comment by Jackson......

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. KOS

    Blaming Fox – that is the height of stupidity!! Jackson made a statement in public, Fox picked it up and they are the lowest of the low? You libs will never blame anything on your own kind.

    July 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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