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Jesse Jackson Apolgizes for 'Rude' Comments

Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson

Barack Obama photographed with Jesse Jackson in Chicago in January 2007. Jeff Haynes, AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Haynes, AFP/Getty Images

Jesse Jackson apologized today, for making what he called "rude and hurtful comments" about presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

According to CNN, Jackson was doing an interview with Fox News and was caught talking on an open microphone. [Fox News' Sean Hannity is expected to play the clip later today on his show Hannity & Colmes.]

As CNN anchor Don Lemon reported, Jackson said "something to the effect of 'the senator was cutting his you-know-what off with black people and the black church.'"

After he became aware that the comments were heard by others — and recorded — Jackson said he immediately called the Obama campaign to send a statement of apology.

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.

My appeal was for the moral content of his message to not only deal with the personal and moral responsibility of black males, but to deal with the collective moral responsibility of government and the public policy which would be a corrective action for the lack of good choices that often led to their irresponsibility.

That was the context of my private conversation and it does not reflect any disparagement on my part for the historic event in which we are involved or my pride in Senator Barack Obama, who is leading it, whom I have supported by crisscrossing this nation in every level of media and audience from the beginning in absolute terms.

On CNN, Jackson said he was referring to Obama's recent spate of speeches before black audiences — like his Father's Day address — where he touts the importance of personal accountability.

As his written statement explains, Jackson said he took issue with the characterization that the solution to structural crises in black America is a matter of moral behavior.

What do you think?

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Be sure to check out tomorrow's show; Farai just wrapped an interview with Jesse Jackson about this controversy.

UPDATE (5PM PT): Fox News has now aired the clip. Jackson actually said "I want to cut his [Obama's] n*ts off."

Plus, Obama's camp has issued this statement:

"As someone who grew up without a father in the home, Senator Obama has spoken and written for many years about the issue of parental responsibility, including the importance of fathers participating in their children's lives. He also discusses our responsibility as a society to provide jobs, justice, and opportunity for all. He will continue to speak out about our responsibilities to ourselves and each other, and he of course accepts Reverend Jackson's apology."



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Oh Rev. Jesse, why isn't this latest faux pas not surprising. Let's see it started with the "acting white" comment and now this and of all places, Fox News.

Anyway, the way I feel about this story is Rev. Jesse Jackson doesn't know what to do with himself when a camera is turned on. So I will give him the benefit of the doubt; like blame on his head not his heart.

Sent by Moji | 5:23 PM | 7-9-2008

Jesse is the consummate HATER. Maybe Obama hit a nerve when he called for responsible parenting in our community.
Remember Jesse's 'baby mama drama' with that"reporter" who was writing about and doing him at the same time that he was giving 'pastoral counseling' to that lying, cheating, racist bastard a/k/a Bill Clinton? I wonder if Jesse is being responsible with the love child born of that unholy alliance.

Sent by SisterSoror | 7:10 PM | 7-9-2008

Jackson was 100% right with his comments. The thing that I'm angry about is that he feels he has to say them in private when the mic is off. He's too afraid that the Obamiacs will accuse him of being a jealous hater like they've already done.

Obama's Father's Day speech was designed to do nothing more than to craft his image with white voters as a candidate that will do no special favors for black folks. The fact that it had to be done at the expense of black fathers is no sweat off Obama's back. The crazy part is when I hear his fans excuse it away and say "he only told the truth." Isn't it funny that the only truth he knows is a truth that's offensive to black people?

Jesse Jackson's point was one that needed to be made. It's just too bad that he's too afraid to say it out loud.

Sent by Big Brother Octane | 8:31 PM | 7-9-2008

That one slip-up will lend only credibility to the long-standing opinion held by the neo-conservative, white, Christian evangelical right (Bush)that Black people only respond to pandering politicians. Like, Obama has to lower his standards and expectations to appease the huddled, ignorant, immoral Black masses.

Bill O'Reilly will surely exploit this on his (less than)fair, (less than)balanced radio and TV shows.

Let's see...I predict that undecided (non-Black) voters will swing toward Obama in the polls; because now they've got to side-up against the mean, angry Black man (Jesse), and those that he is "perceived" to represent (Black folks).

Same old slave politics. Rather than blast Obama, Jesse would do well to get "off the mike" (oh, he was, wasn't he? LOL), and head to the streets and MOTIVATE Black people to embrace their right to VOTE, PERIOD!

Ah...racial politics.

?? Add new comment

Sent by Sheznolady | 9:25 PM | 7-9-2008

Jesse Jackson has no right to judge Obama. Jesse is a cheater, he is not in the home of his love child. I do not have any respect for Mr. Jackson. He need to go home and shut the hell up. Go Obama.

Sent by Marietta Hunter | 9:32 PM | 7-9-2008

I'm not a Jesse fan by any stretch of the imagination, but is unfair. Jesse clearly made the comments of the record. Only a "News" organization like Fox would take such utterances and air them. No news organization with an ounce of integrity would stoop so low. Rev,. Jackson must share some of the blame ,however, he should have known better. If you lie with snakes you just might get bitten.

This is a classic case of divide and conquer. Fox is hoping to create a fake controversy/debate by pitting Barack and Jesse against one another. Don't fall for it people.

Sent by Bill M | 9:59 PM | 7-9-2008

It is now becoming increasingly trendy to diminish the import of racist, structural forces that continue to impact the lives of black people in America. It is now self-evident that black people have it good in this country and those who don't measure up have only themselves to blame. Evidently we now reside in a post-racial, post-white supremacist America and any belief to the contrary is old and unsophisticated.

Sent by bernard | 11:57 PM | 7-9-2008

I could add this to the list of other live-mike moments that were reported for a while and then forgotten. W describes one reporter to Cheney, using one of the Seven Dirty Words. Or Clinton curses out Jackson during his campaign. Or Reagan declares war against Russia.

But, then again, all those happened before YouTube came along.

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 2:17 AM | 7-10-2008

The torch has been passed from Jesse's generation, the one that swore they'd NEVER get old or be like their parents, to Obama's. Change has hit them like a ton of bricks. Reality is setting in that a new day is coming and soon they'll be on their back porches in their rocking chairs while we get on down the road. This thing cannot be stopped. Not by the racists, not by the negative naysayers, or old tired civil rights era warhorses. It's a brand new day.

Sent by Thomas B | 4:40 AM | 7-10-2008

jesse jackson knew what he was doing. He is petty and jealous because of his failed bid at the presidency years ago.
there should be an island for all black and white poliiical has beens where they could go and bask in their exploits.

Sent by willis perry | 6:50 AM | 7-10-2008

I honestly think he said the comments out of frustration with Obama not out of hatred or even jealously.
By the way how can one say we now live in a post white supremacist country when we continuly have unarmed black men shot to death, reverse disciminatory lending practices, unfair sentences against people of color for the same crimes that white people commit and schools that do not teach our children the entire truth about our legacy and contribution to civilization.
I think Jesse Jackson wants to see the next black leader of this powerful but yet imperfect nation continue to seek justice for the oppressed and to help remedy the inequity that still exists in our community.

Sent by NTL | 10:24 AM | 7-10-2008

Please! Are we going to give Jesse Jackson a pass on this unbelievably hateful, crude comment about Senator Obama? I'm no lawyer, but this could probably prosecuted as a serious threat to the senator relative to 'hate crimes' legislation. If any Caucasian public figure had made such a comment, all hell would break loose.

Sent by Sharon Johnson | 11:51 AM | 7-10-2008

Time for Jesse to just sit down and be quite... But on the other hand, I wonder if this was a calculated and strategic stunt secretly choreographed by both Jesse and Barak, just to let white people feel and think that Jesse will not have any influence over an Obama Presidential administration.

Sent by JC | 4:24 PM | 7-10-2008

The truth is that a lot of the comments that i read in this blog is partially right.There has been a lot of injustice done to the black people which majority of white people including my father in-law disagrees with.In short i had a heated debate with him about the racial disparities between whites and blacks in everything in the country.At the same time i told him that the black man also has to take responsibity for their own actions.I think that everybody has to take their own responsibility for their actions.White people have to take responsibility for the way that blacks have been treated.Some people will say that it was not their generation that did the atrocities.I will say that though that they did not enslave the blacks,they are enjoying the fruits of it;all the wealth and opportunuties that has been passed down to their generation.Community groups in the white community especially churches should apologize for allowing these atrocities to happen to the black americans during their watch.They should also strongly advocate for ways to get black people involved a lot more in the community.On the other hand blacks are supposed to take responsibity for killing their own, in gangs and drug violence.Black fathers should apologize to the black race and the community for being absent in the lives of their children.Black men should get off their butts and get jobs to provide for their families.Black women should not be allowing men into their lives that are not going to be there for them.The racial tension in this country cannot be blamed on a group.Everybody has to take responsibility.

Sent by Chijioke Ilochonwu. | 6:03 PM | 7-10-2008

In my observation, Jessie Jackson's statement proves he was unable to discern the woes between presidential candidate, civil rights leader or preacher. I believe he is innocent in his intentions...considering his aspirations for leading a vigilant intelligent African America to an equal with its ruling class. Over 45 years during the civil right movements, he struggled, a Quest (imperative) unfulfilled. It is human nature for man to linger in the realm of an aspiration deferred. Like Jeremiah Wright, of course he will use the ultimate media bait get another wail to the African American people what the Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama Shouldn't have to. The people, their local representatives, Vigilante organizations, think tanks are responsible for Core Movements to enforce Equality.

Sent by Brenda Wright Fox | 9:51 PM | 7-10-2008