The Rev. Jesse Jackson visited the editorial board Monday to talk about poverty, schools, the Jena Six and more. Given Jackson's scratchy relationship with Barack Obama -- whom he has nonetheless endorsed, vowing that "any attempt to dilute my support for Sen. Obama will not succeed" -- we were curious to hear his views on presidential politics.

Rev. Jesse Jackson: By any measuring standard, by any measuring standard, we have been, we have taken steps backwards under this administration. So whatever happens next year must involve an attorney general committed to justice again, and a government vision that includes lifting up those whose backs are against the wall

David Hiller: May I ask a question on that?

Jackson: Indeed.

Hiller: How do you, in the uh, current uh campaign, are you seeing these issues being partially, or satisfactorily, or the beginning to be addressed in the way--

Jackson: Partially, partially. I think there's a, the thing of the hour is who can, who can have the most anti-Iraq policy. He who was liable to be against the Vietnam War was counter-culture, now to be against the war in Iraq is the flow of the culture. So it's who can say who's against it the earliest, and got out, gonna get out first. It's like that.

Well, the absence of the Iraq war, which is important, is not the presence of reinventing America. And those willing to cut the 10 billion dollars a month from Iraq, are not willing to invest in America's infrastructure. So you have from the trainers in Minnessota, from collapsing bridges to collapsing you know, uh levees, that there's not enough voice on reinvest(ing) in America's infrastructure. To rebuild our schools, our bridges and our roads and put every American back to work full-time. That's not throwing away money that's investing in the infrastructure, and putting to work also.

And so there is, we'll keep pushing to hear that alternative to what's happening now. Because the Bush forces simply took us in the direction of the Confederates, they just took us in that direction, this kind of anti, anti-central government, anti-federal government, pro-states rights, uh, don't use the government ... use private economic resources and gifts. [...]

Hiller: Have you identified a candidate or candidates that you'd think best speak to the issues that you were talking about now?

Jackson: I think all the Democrats represent a, a breath of fresh air and a new direction. There's that. The question is to what degree will the government shift to offset, ah, seven years of real retrogression on women's rights, workers rights, racial justice, uh, uh, labor, public education. It's gonna take some heavy lifting to do that.

Now. Um. You know I've said I would vote for Barack because he's my neighbor. I have very strong feelings for Hillary because we've worked together 30 years. I'm not really campaigning for anybody. I'm focusing more on raising the agenda items; and all of them I'm scrapping with when this is over in the spring. That's really my interest more than, than barnstorming for someone.