Opinion: Jesse Jackson apologizes to Barack Obama
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Barack Obama and high-profile African American ministers just don’t seem to mix. First there was Rev. Jeremiah Wright damning America, and now Rev. Jesse Jackson is threatening to cut off the Illinois senator’s unmentionables:
The civil rights leader apparently did not know that his microphone was on when he made the whispered comments to another guest as he prepared to do an interview on ‘Fox & Friends.’’Barack, he’s talking down to black people,’ Jackson said in a short clip the network aired this afternoon on ‘Special Report with Brit Hume.’Hume reported that Jackson also ‘threatened to cut off a certain part of Obama’s anatomy.’
Ouch. That must hurt -- especially since Jackson, who endorsed Obama, has called the White House hopeful Illinois’ ’favorite son.’
It’s quite possibly the most highly anticipated accidental slip ever. Even the reverend has apologized in advance, the Caucus reports:
Presumably trying to get ahead of the controversy, Mr. Jackson also appeared by telephone on CNN Wednesday afternoon. He said the remark was “very private, and very much a sound bite,” and added that he had called Mr. Obama’s campaign to “send my statement of apology.”
Time Magazine provides Obama’s short-but-not-sweet 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 will continue to speak out about our responsibilities to ourselves and each other, and he of course accepts Reverend Jackson’s apology,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
The campaign may not have much to say, but bloggers are stepping up to the plate. ‘This has to be some sort of new speed record,’ marvels The Swamp, and Comedy Central asks the burning question:
What the [bleep] is wrong with him? If I were a controversial black Democrat, I wouldn’t even think disparaging comments about Barack Obama near a Fox News microphone.
Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin gleefully snarks, ‘But, you know, it’s us meanie conservatives who are responsible for all the race-based smears. Uh-huh.’ But Salon, unperturbed, takes the longer view:
To be politically crude about it, it’s hard to imagine that Barack Obama, whose African-American support is rock-solid, is going to be hurt by an off-the-record complaint by Jesse Jackson that he’s being too morally demanding, particularly as reported by Fox News.
No live mic here, just a poll:
-- Amina Khan
*Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press