On CNN, Rev. Jesse Jackson talks about the disparaging remarks he made about Obama

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A developing tempest--perhaps--brewing, triggered by comments made by the Rev. Jesse Jackson about presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Here what Jackson told CNN on Wednesday afternoon:

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to get right back to another story we're following. Breaking news, the Reverend Jesse Jackson saying some very, very disparaging words about Senator Barack Obama, even though he supports him for president of the United States. CNN's Don Lemon has been working this story, together with a lot of us. First of all, Don, I know you're watching this story. Senator -- Reverend Jackson is about to join us on the phone. But just remind us, before you start talking to Reverend Jackson, what exactly he said on an open mike that's causing so much distress right now.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well what he said to me earlier, and we're going to talk to him in just a little bit, we just got him on the phone, Wolf. He said that he made some crude what he called crude and hurtful comments that he would much rather have made to the senator in private. He did not know the microphone was open. He said it was a hot mike, didn't realize it.

And what he said was that he wanted to -- he thinks that the lectures that Barack Obama has been giving lately to black churches and to black people, he thinks it needs to be a broader context. It's much broader than what the senator is saying.

But what is much better is probably that we get the words from the Reverend Jesse Jackson right now. Reverend Jesse Jackson joining us from Chicago. Thank you very much, sir.

VOICE OF REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Well, Don, how are you?

LEMON: I'm doing well. How are you is the question -- but first, I want to ask what you said, and why did you say it?

JACKSON: Well, you know, let me say first, this is a sound bite within a broader conversation about urban policy and racial disparities. And I -- feel very distressed because I'm supportive of this campaign and with what the senator has done and is doing.

I was in a conversation with a fellow guest at Fox on Sunday. He asked about Barack's speeches lately at the black churches. I said it can come off 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 healthcare. There is a range of issues on the menu.

And frankly, I think that is his basic urban policy position. No one else has put one together except him in the situation.

And then I said something I felt regret for -- it was crude. It was very private, and very much a sound bite -- and a live mike. And so I feel -- I find no comfort in it, I find no joy in it. So I immediately called the senator's campaign to send my statement of apology to repair the harm or hurt that this may have caused his campaign, because I support it unequivocally.

LEMON: OK, Reverend.

And Barack Obama's campaign, of course, is saying that they don't have a comment now. And you know how quickly this spreads. We got -- I got the word through another source and then called you. And Wolf Blitzer also tried to get you on the phone.

And Wolf has some questions for you as well -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Reverend Jackson, why did you say these things? Because it's so crude, we can't even repeat it on the air right now, what you said on this open mike.

What was going through your mind?

JACKSON: Well, when I was asked about it, there was already some kind of (INAUDIBLE) reaction. The appeal in black America is record levels of unemployment, home foreclosure crisis, records of murders, and all kind of reprehensible actions for black America. A million blacks are in jail even as we talk today and 900,000 young black men. So we have some real serious issues, and not just moral issues --

BLITZER: Well then let me interrupt, Reverend Jackson.

JACKSON: -- Structural inequality.

BLITZER: Reverend Jackson, are you suggesting that Senator Obama isn't concerned about these issues? Is that what you are saying?

JACKSON: Not -- by any means (ph). He has dealt with it more effectively than anyone else has. Each time he gives one of these message at a black church, it appears to be targeted and the media takes it and runs with it as a solution to a structural crisis -- you know -- his moral behavior.

To me it's like putting a size 10 foot in a size eight shoe. You need some structure, not just some challenges on -- which he understands so well, and that's why I regret so much this statement, which could be exploited or could be used to exploit our relationship and the campaign.

LEMON: Reverend -- and I want to jump in here and ask you question because there has been some talk in the media, and also on the blogs, about the Reverend -- about Barack Obama playing to the middle, and not necessarily addressing issues that are important to the black community as sternly and as matter-of-factly as he should. And in some way, and I don't know if this is your opinion, that he may be shying away from this because he's concerned that it might hurt him in his run for the presidency.

JACKSON: The basic issues he raises about an urban policy and jobs, no one else has addressed, has broad application. The crisis we've faced today, besides, you know, behaving better and doing the right thing, is jobs and investors leaving and drugs and guns are coming. The murder rate is up, taxes up, services down, first class jail, second class schools.

That requires some real heavy lifting that has to take place. When you are speaking to a black church, or to labor hall, or to a university, I'm appealing really for a much broader discussion. And I would say again, probably because of regard for him and the campaign, and I would hate it to be lifted out of context really on a live mike statement.

BLITZER: And -- Reverend Jackson, we're out of time, but a very quick -- if you could right now, speak directly to Senator Obama from your heart, what would you say to him?

JACKSON: That any hurt or harm I caused his campaign, I apologize, because I have such high regard for him. And this our (ph) redemptive moment. I'm a part of it. And I cherish his role -- the role he's played in making the nation better and making the world rejoice.

BLITZER: Reverend Jackson, thank you for joining us for a few moments. We'll continue to watch this story.

Don Lemon, thanks to you as well.

This is a story that clearly is going to cause some controversy out there.

LEMON: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you.

- END -

18 Comments

NO HARM NO FOUL!
SOMEONE IS TRYING TO MAKE A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLE-HILL!
TO THE GOP, TAKE YOUR WHIPPING AND STOP THE NONSENSE!
TO JOHN MCCAIN, THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK, YOU SAID SOMETHING ON
TELEVISION THAT WAS REALLY SAD THIS MORNING!
I'LL BE GLAD WHEN BARACK OBAMA IS ELECTED SO ALOT OF US CAN CALM
DOWN AND RELAX, ESPECIALLY FOX NEWS!

It wasn't a disparaging remark; it was a violent and very mean remark. There's a huge difference. Disparaging sounds acceptable, but that remark was NOT acceptable.

Some things are better left unsaid, when what's said is considerd to be one's opinion, wheather it's the truth or not, one's enemy take it and make it out to be something other than what it is.

Let us pray for OBAMA, Jesse Jackson SR. and JR. and America, constitution and the freedom of speech.

Wallace" Gator"Bradley
Urban Translator

J Jackson shouldn't repeat his idiocy again.

Jackson has just moved into the room with Bob Johnson, Andrew Young and Charlie Rangel. This a room for tired old Black has- beens. They have had their affairs and now the only joy is a bottle of gin to smooth the pain. Jackson is a "Black Leader of the past" He was never a leader of Blacks. His trade was making a living on the injustices to the Black community. Obama represents all that a Jackson could never achieve. Now what we see is a clear resistance to a new and clean slate for America and the world. The World can see that Obama will get no help from the Jackson types in this world.

PHIL, don't point fingers at FOX.....Jackson said it !
GATOR: Did you have such a non-chalent forgiving feeling concerning Don Imus? Or do you practice a 'double-standard'?

BTW, be careful Jesse. Barack becomes president, then paybacks can be a b--ch, as they say.....He's liable to audit PUSH and you. And you might have to do something you've never had to do before. Account for where every donated dollar goes. Money that was intended for the poor and the neighborhoods, not jet-setting, the most expensive hotels, and personal bank accounts.

Concentrate on putting Hillary on the ticket so we can win kiddies and ixnay on calling people racist and feeble if they disagree with you, coatsmoe. Is that what they taught you at obama camp? Andrew Young and Charles Rangel have done more for this country than YOU ever have THOUGHT of doing over at camp Obama. So criticizing fellow democrats is beyond stupid right now. Just let it be.

Disgusted that REVEREND Jackson would make a comment like cutting his nuts off. That is a Ghetto comment that comes from a man like Jackson. He really upsets me.
Rev Jackson needs to relisten to his speeches about being a father and practice real hard with his children and the illegitimate child that he had. I guess just like the rest of the black men in America who have their baby's mama, Rev Jackson doesn't want to listen to a real man, an upstanding Senator with a great wife who he demonstrates respect for every day.
Rev. Jackson, you and your Rainbow coalition can mumble about your speeches and the concepts you pretend to believe in.

Mr. Jackson, do you realize you made a verbal insinuation of harming a presidential candidate and was caught on tape saying it? Do you REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU DID?

We all know if someone white had made those same statements toward Senator Obama - the old civil rights war horses would be screaming into a camera and a mic for the Justice Dept to look into the matter.

I cannot excuse it! You are on tape and should now be under investigation. I don't give a damn who you are! That was a direct threat against Barack Obama's life, the Democratic Presidential Nominee.

You don't say such things unless in the privacy of your home, and be careful there considering the Bush administration penchant for eaves-dropping.

**
Mr. Phil Smith it is harmful - and it is more than a mole-hill. QUIT TURNING A BLIND EYE TO EVERY FREAKING THING THAT COMES OUT OF A BLACK PERSON MOUTH!!
J. Jackson Sr. needs to learn how to say NO COMMENT AT THIS TIME!! Instead of rambling and making threats. I am not taking it lightly!!

THE MICROPHONE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE OFF!
STOP DEFENDING FOX NEWS, THIS IS WHAT THEY DO, THEY START TROUBLE!
GROW UP AND WATCH FOR YOURSELF, THEY SEND SPIES TO CHURCHES, THEY
MAY SEND A SPY TO YOUR HOME!
I HOPE THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN TO YOU ONE DAY, AND YOU DON'T LOSE YOUR
JOB, BECAUSE YOU DON'T THINK ANYONE IS LISTENING!
I'M NOT DEFENDING WHAT HE DID, I'M SPEAKING OUT HOW IT IS BEING
PLAYED OUT IN THE MEDIA, WON'T WORK BECAUSE BARACK OBAMA IS SMART
HE WON'T DO WHAT FOX NEWS WANTS HIM TO DO, THAT'S WHY HE WILL MAKE
A GREAT PRESIDENT, FOX NEWS IS SO LOW THEY CAN PLAY HANDBALL ON
THE CURB!
THEY TRY TO SPIN SOMETHING TO CAUSE A SQUABBLE!
IF THE MIC WAS OFF, WE WOULDN'T HAVE KNOWN WHAT HE SAID!

THAT CRAP ABOUT AUDITING PUSH IS PURE CRAP, REV. JACKSON NOT ONLY
HELPS BLACKS, BUT HE HAS HELPED ALOT OF WHITE'S AS WELL!
PUSH ISN'T A BLACK ONLY ORGANIZATION!
PEOPLE UNITED TO SAVE HUMANITY- THAT'S WHAT IT STANDS FOR!
REV. JACKSON HAS BEEN ON THE FRONTLINE FROM DAY ONE!
DON'T LET FOX NEWS PUT CRAP IN YOUR HEADS!

Jesse Jackson should juust stay out of it. He helps no one, anymore. today some blacks have more benifits than whites. So Reverend just hush. He also is not acting very christian.

Gotta love the inequality. Don Imus makes a comment about black women and he gets fired. Jackson makes a comment about a black Presidential candidate, and he gets booked on every news program in the country to "explain himself". What a Crock. Jackson is a self serving jerk that deserves nothing more than to be ignored.

Mr. Smith, your screaming gets no where, so stop it! You are coming across just as the person you are tyring to defend. A media savvy individual who loves the cameras and mics know how the game is played. Do not try to belittle others intelligence because Jesse has made a fool of himself.

How do a Reverend, who yourself stated, has an organization named PEOPLE UNITED TO SAVE HUMANITY (PUSH) but makes bodily treats to another Black man?

Jesse Jackson knew exactly what he was doing and got his name back in the lime-light. Remember, even a publicist will state Bad Publicity is better than NO publicity. - VIEW HOW QUICKLY HE HELD A PRESS CONFRERENCE!

Yes, it was a hot mic and a even more hotter Jesse Jackson!

Another thing, STOP TYPING EVERY WORD IN CAPS!

How do a Reverend, who yourself stated, has an organization named PEOPLE UNITED TO SAVE HUMANITY (PUSH) makes bodily threats to another Black man?

Posted by: Douglas | July 11, 2008 12:16 PM

Forgive the typo or incoherent statement

WHAT HE SAID WASN'T MEANT FOR BODILY HARM, IT WAS POLITICAL CODE
TALK, AND BELIEVE YOU ME, REV. JACKSON HAS BEEN HARMED BEFORE,
BUT NEVER HAS HE HARMED ANYONE!
REV. JACKSON ISN'T LOOKING FOR ANY LIME-LIGHT!
HE'S ALREADY A WORLD LEADER, AND BELIEVE ME, IF YOUR RELATIVE IS
TAKEN HOSTAGE IN A FOREIGN LAND, YOU WILL CALL REV. JACKSON IN A
HEARTBEAT TO COME AND HELP YOUR LOVE-ONE!
TO DOUGLAS, YOU ARE ACTING LIKE FOX NEWS, YOU ARE TRYING TO MAKE
THIS MORE THAN WHAT IT IS!
WE ARE GOING TO KEEP OUR EYES ON THE PRIZE AND ELECT BARACK OBAMA
AS THE NEXT PRESIDENT, YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, BUT IT WON'T WORK!
I'VE BEEN TYPING IN CAPS FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU, WHO ARE STUCK ON
STUPID!

I'VE BEEN TYPING IN CAPS FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU, WHO ARE STUCK ON
STUPID!

Posted by: PHIL SMITH JR | July 12, 2008 09:17 AM

Such a childish statement and display of behavior...lol
Are you standing in the corner stumping your feet as well?...lol

THE QUESTION IS ARE YOU STUCK ON STUPID?
THANKS FOR KEEPING MY NAME ON THE BLOG!
BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT BEFORE DOUGLAS VOTES FOR MCCAIN!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 9, 2008 4:15 PM.

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