October 15th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain campaign targets Jesse Jackson comments

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/15/art.jackson.gi.jpg caption="Jackson is a supporter of Barack Obama."](CNN) - The McCain campaign is targeting Barack Obama over recent comments from the Rev. Jesse Jackson suggesting the Illinois senator would fundamentally change U.S. policy toward Israel.

"It should not surprise anyone that Obama’s supporters see what others, from the terrorist group Hamas to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, have seen: an Obama presidency would bring real change to America’s policy of support for Israel," said McCain senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann.

Jackson's comments came at the World Policy Forum in Evian, France last week and were quoted Tuesday by New York Post columnist Amir Taheri.   According to Taheri, Jackson reportedly said that under an Obama administration, the "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" will come to an end and as would America's policy of "of putting Israel's interests first."

"Obama is about change," Jackson said. "And the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it."

Officials from the Obama campaign immediately distanced themselves from the comments, noting Jackson is not an adviser to the campaign and does not speak for the Illinois senator.

"As he has made clear throughout his career and throughout this campaign, Barack Obama has a fundamental commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, and he is advised by people like Dennis Ross, Daniel Kurtzer, Rep. Robert Wexler, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Senator Joe Biden who share that commitment," Obama national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said in a statement.

But the McCain campaign, who has long sought to portray Obama as naïve when it comes to foreign affairs and capitalize on the fact some Jewish voters have yet to warm to the Democratic presidential nominee, said Jackson's comment is telling of the kind of foreign policy Obama would pursue.

"Barack Obama expressed support for Jerusalem being the undivided capital of Israel and switched his position 24 hours later in the face of criticism from Palestinians," Scheunemann said. "Barack Obama has said it is a 'disgrace' that the United States has not met unconditionally with leaders committed to Israel’s destruction. Now, Barack Obama claims to be a strong supporter of Israel but his supporters - here and abroad - know better."

soundoff (464 Responses)
  1. Hall for Obama

    Jesse Jackson need to keep his mouth and pant shut. By the way will when will people get it Jesse Jackson do not speak for all black people.

    October 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Noah

    I see that the Obama apologists and excuse makers are back in full force. While it is true that one cannot control what someone else says, this latest Jesse Jackson comment is just one part of a larger pattern that continues to develop in regards to Obama. We are continuing to see more and more people who are connected intimately to Obama revealing Obama's true character. This is what we conservatives have been saying all along. Obama's record is completely opposite of what he has been telling the American public. How does that make you good little Liberals feel, knowing that this man has to pretend he does not hold your beliefs in order to appeal to independent voters to win an election?

    October 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Old white woman for Obama

    Since when was Jessie Jackson a credible source for any news, let alone on Obamas' positions.
    Jessie Jackson only speaks to get attention for himself.
    Obama is a friend to Israel and all American allies.
    I can't wait to vote for President Barack Hussein Obama!

    October 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Amy

    Jesse Jackson is not an Obama surrogate. McCain truly is grasping at straws. Does McCain want to be held responsible for everything one of his famous supporters says or does? I doubt it.

    October 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. jason venzor

    Jesse Jackson is acting like Omarossa.

    October 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Jim Dandy

    Every time you open your mouth out comes trouble for Obama.
    How do you know what he is thinking, are you a mind reader?
    For once PLEASE "Shut the Hell Up"

    October 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. howie

    I guess this is Jackson's way of making good on his threat to try cut Obama's nuts off. Jesse has now beoming a sad figure

    October 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. McSame

    McCain 2008:

    Ignorance first...Country LAST.
    Palin first.......McCain LAST
    Erratic Behavior first......Country LAST

    Obama FIRST.....McCain LAST

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Felly

    McCain is desperate and throwing mud and kitchen sinks. Who wants a 72 yr. old angry man and a 44 yr old beauty Pageant in the White House?

    October 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Moses, OH

    This is a time for all the "supporters" to reign their comments in. I know they want to help, but the McCain campaign is desperate and they are grabbing at straws. They will take anything anyone says and turn it around to benefit McCain. It won't work, but they will try. They need a magic bullet, and the supporters should not give it to them.

    October 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Noah

    Why do you liberals blame McCain for pointing out what Obama's supporters have said??? Blame Obama for having shady alliances. Blame Obama's friends for making stupid comments. You always want to play the victim. You blame everyone else for Obama's faults. It is sad and pathetic

    October 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Beth

    Oh Right!!! What does Jesse Jackson know. Is he any authority on Barack Obama? I think not.

    October 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. David

    SO does McCain have to answer for all the radical right-wing talk show hosts that support him?

    October 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Steve, New York, New York

    Ahhh – McCain now wants us to believe that Jesse Jackson and Obama are "one in the same" (because they're both black? – well, even though one guy has a white mother, people will see him as "just black" anyway).

    McCain – this culture war garbage is totally out of control. By the way, your running mate (Palin) makes Dan Quayle look like a Nobel Laureate.

    October 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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