‘It’s Not Over Till It’s Over,’ Jackson Says : Meets Congressional Democrats, Calls for Party Unity, Fairness

Times Wire Services

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, saying, “It’s not over till it’s over,” met today with congressional Democrats who may determine the party’s presidential nominee, called for party unity and appealed to them for “fairness.”

Jackson, his drive for the White House stalled by Michael S. Dukakis, met for about an hour in a closed House of Representatives chamber with about 160 House Democrats, most of whom will be so-called super delegates to the Democratic National Convention in July.

Even though Dukakis, who has put together a string of impressive primary victories, appears on his way to the nomination, it also seems unlikely that he will have enough delegates to guarantee him the nod by the end of the primary season. The super delegates could then band together behind him.


Jackson, who spoke to the lawmakers for about 20 minutes and took questions for another 40 minutes, said he appealed to them to not commit themselves until after the California and New Jersey primaries on June 7.

“I simply want fairness,” Jackson said, adding, “The super delegates will do America a super favor by not interfering with the process.”

8 Percentage Point Lead

Jackson said the Massachusetts governor leads him by only 8 percentage points in the popular vote. He said that margin should be reflected in the voting by super delegates--those delegates selected by virtue of holding important party positions or public office.

Jackson said the purpose of his visit was not to bargain for support. “It was not a negotiating session,” he said. “We were simply sharing points of view.”

Jackson was the first Democratic contender to address House Democrats on the House floor. Dukakis also has been invited to speak.

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri characterized the session as a “very warm and successful meeting,” and said “everyone admires the grace and tone” with which Jackson has conducted his campaign.

Jackson’s appearance came a day after he won the District of Columbia primary, but Dukakis scored landslides in Ohio and Indiana. (Story, Page 5.)

On the Republican side, George Bush took all three contests to clinch his party’s nomination.

Earlier today, Jackson said he believes he still can capture the Democratic presidential nomination.

‘Within Striking Distance’

“We’re within striking distance,” Jackson said on CBS-TV. “It’s not over really till it’s over. What’s next is West Virginia and Nebraska, Oregon, New Mexico, California, New Jersey. . . . We look forward to these remaining contests and we are not only setting the pace for the campaign but setting the agenda as well.”