Jesse Jackson apologizes for comment about Barack Obama

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jesse Jackson in 1983.

On Wednesday evening, Jesse Jackson went on television to say that he had apologized to Barack Obama for remarks made about the presidential candidate on the previous Sunday.

On Sunday, July 6, Jackson, a United States civil rights proponent, minister, and former presidential candidate, was in a television studio for a live interview. While the broadcast went off-air for a commercial, Jackson leaned toward a fellow panelist and uttered a few comments. Though not broadcast live, the cameras were still recording.

The video footage shows Jackson saying that he felt that presidential candidate and presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, Barack Obama, is "talking down to black people."

In the recording, Jackson then added "I want to cut his nuts out," and reiterated "Barack ... he's talking down to black people."

In Jackson's follow-up statement on Wednesday he said he had called the Obama campaign to apologize "for any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation may have caused."

"My support for Senator Obama's campaign is wide, deep and unequivocal," Jackson said.

Bill Burton, a spokesperson for Obama, said that Barack Obama would "continue to speak out about our responsibilities to ourselves and each other, and he of course accepts Reverend Jackson's apology."

"His comments were a combination of personal ego and ideological dispute," said Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, who has covered Jackson for many years.

Many, including Page, have suggested that Jackson's comment was in response to a speech delivered by Obama on Father's Day. "Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father," Obama said on June 15. "It's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father."