Jesse Jackson Apologizes for Remarks About Obama

Updated July 18, 2008

Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized for the second time in a week to Sen. Barack Obama for making what he describes as “regretfully crude” comments about Obama during what he thought was a private conversation three days ago.

Jackson, during a break from taping “Fox & Friends” was heard responding to a question from a guest about Obama’s speeches on morality at black churches. Apparently, not aware that his microphone was on, Jackson whispered, to the other guest that Obama had been talking down to black people and later remarked: “I want to cut his nuts off.” Jackson also reportedly referred to blacks using the “N-word.”

On July 9, 2008, Bill O’Reilly aired excerpts of Jackson’s comment on his show and said the following: “I want to tell the audience, and I want to tell you, that we held back some of this conversation, and we did that because we didn’t feel it had any relevance to the conversation this evening. We are not out to get Jesse Jackson. We are not out to embarrass him and we are not out to make him look bad. If we were, we would have used what we had, which is more damaging than what you have heard. What we are trying to get at here, is that there are some people who believe that the victimization here goes to hell if Barack Obama is elected president. The accusation that we live in a racial society, unfair to blacks, all blows up if you get Obama into the White House.”

Jackson declined to repeat the comments, but said he decided to apologize publicly after hearing from Fox that it would air them. “For any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation may have caused, I apologize,” Jackson said in a written apology. Jackson also said he called Obama’s campaign to apologize.

Jackson’s comments sparked something of a family feud. His son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who is who is an Obama national campaign co-chair said of his father’s statements: “I’m deeply outraged and disappointed in Reverend Jackson’s reckless statements about Senator Barack Obama. His divisive and demeaning comments about the presumptive Democratic nominee — and I believe the next president of the United States — contradict his inspiring and courageous career.”

Jackson, Jr, also said, “Reverend Jackson is my dad and I’ll always love him,” he said. “He should know how hard that I’ve worked for the last year and a half as a national co-chair of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. So I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric. He should keep hope alive and any personal attacks and insults to himself.”

Some in the media are trying to make this a race issue. I don’t see this as a race issue. I see this as a generational issue. Jesse Jackson got caught being Jesse Jackson. What I mean by that is that it appears that in what he thought was a private moment we saw more of the real Jesse Jackson than the carefully crafted image he has tried to control and portray.

What do you think?

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”


12 Responses to “Jesse Jackson Apologizes for Remarks About Obama”

  1. moniqueth3intern Says:

    I think it is a horrible statement but I don’t think he was talking about Obama. O’Reilly said that he is not showing the whole thing, so I think he is hiding something. I think that Jackson was talking about black men abandoning their duties as fathers. I think he was just sharing with his friend what he thought.

  2. The Agitator Says:

    Jesse Jackson’s statement really pains me. This is just another example of the “crabs in a barrel label.” Everytime one crab get to the top another one tries to pull him back. Jackson’s comment is a clear cut case of one black person being jealous of another. Obama is doing something that Jackson could not image, conceive or attempt to accomplish. Jackson lacks the intellect, charisma, respect or class of Barrack Obama. Obama speaks so people of all ages and races can relate. His speeches are not filled with empty home-made or creative attempts at poetry. Obamas speeches are filled with substance and current issues which has gotten him to his current position as the first black Democratic Presidential nominee. I sincerely hope Obama gives no attention or a second thought to the comments of someone who has never had a real job and spent his entire existence trying get respect and media attention. I guess I will have to give Jackson credit for one good deed. He raised a son who did not follow in his father’s footsteps and has made something positive of his life and is working very hard to assist Obama in his quest to get this country back on the track to prosperity. Any intelligent person knows this country is heading for diaster with the high gas prices, inflation through the roof, foreclosures at an alarming rate and unemployment at the highest it has even been in history. I know it is unfair to make assumption and I know they say about assumptions. However, after Jackson’s comment I will assume on November 8th he will be casting a vote for McCain and four more years of Bush politics. It is sad but true that blacks are the only race on the face of this earth that does not support its own. Jackson is just another example of the validity of that unfortunate black label. My mother use to say “if you do not have something good to say about someone, keep your mouth shut.”

  3. I think Wright, Jackson & Sharpton are all related… their thinking. Let old stereotypes be…& MAKE your future, as your Father’s did before you. Good or bad, you decide. How much more time are we gonig to waste pointing fingers? The government has done just that through an energy, house & immigration crisis….lol….one word KATRINA. I shed many a tear for strangers. I connected with them all & my anger was real. I am a white, middle-aged lady who is about as tired of hearing about black rights as I am hearing about gay rights. Enough already! TMI! Just to set the record straight, my parents both immigrated to the US legally from Canada; I am a first generation (proud) American. I am appalled by the past of our country in many ways but we can’t look back forever…we must step forward. The idea that Jackson would evoke a threat, that was very common during the slave days, on Obama is beyond reason. I have been & still am a single mom of 2 boys for the past 15 years. I am owed almost $80k in child support while my ex, who is white, works full-time as a deadbeat Dad. Jerks come in all colors, sexes & nationalities. You can’t make ANYONE be a parent. When I find myself getting bitter, as Jackson, etc. seems, I take stock in how far I have come. Isn’t that what the early slaves who were freed did? Isn’t that what MLK did? There are many unjustices in this world. We must live by example, not allow bad deeds to go unpunished & hold our youth to a harder (bring back early values) not higher example. Sex is stlll not discussed (abstinence never worked) & kids are becoming parents….what would you do? We ALL can learn a little from Obama’s words….if you feel like he is talking about you…then maybe you need to listen?!


    PS – I stll prefer the word black, the word American shouldn’t be hyphenated. 🙂

  4. Jeff the Interpreter Says:

    Is it time to retire?

    Kenny Rogers seemed to have it right with regards to “Civil Rights megaphone
    emeritus” Jesse Jackson. Know when to hold em’, know when to fold em’, know
    when to walk away, know when to run’. I would add that latter line would be
    “know when to shut da f*ck up.”

    The Right Rev. Jackson seems to be losing it at every turn, he has very
    little to do with American politics, social change is happening without his
    seal of approval, his pontificating is old and tired, and the issues are
    more advanced than he is. Rev. Jackson failed to learn from Rev. Jeremiah
    Wright, Father Pfleger or even Tavis Smiley when it comes to advancing our
    presence at the “Big Table”. What ever The Right Reverend had against Sen.
    Barack Obama’s Father’s day speech on personal paternal responsibility, he
    can’t for a minute dispute the content. He for one, should be saying
    nutin’. How old is his most recent progeny? Who is the baby’s momma? Who
    was he married to while fathering another woman’s baby? Come on Rev. your
    sh*t stank like airybody else.

    Not to mention that castration statement, “I want to cut his nuts off.”
    Where the hell did that come from? If that had come out of the mouth of a
    Hannity, Limbaugh, or Imus, they can kiss their multi-million dollar
    contract Good bye. Hot mic or not, private statement or not, What he said
    and what was said is absolutely outrageous. We are standing on the mountain
    top and for some reason we can’t just coast down the hill. It is said that
    it’s not the climb up the mountain that is most dangerous but the descend
    down, something having to do with, hmmm, gravity.

    Lastly, stay da f*ck off Fox News! What have they done for anybody except
    help drag this country down with their lies, misrepresentations,
    continuation of fear mongering, and hysterics.

    Rev. Jackson, you disappoint and bewilder the masses over and over again,
    with your self promoting antics. Take a power, a chill pill, a vacation,
    read a book, teach a class, write a play, cut some grass, play with your
    grand kids and your daughter (which are about the same age), spend time with
    the wife (oops), Do something instead of appearing on air older, dumber, and
    not helpful. Oh, I have a great idea . . . go and read Dr. Martin Luther
    King’s speech at the Riverside Church, read the letter from the Birmingham
    Jail, Listen and listen again to the speech given on the Washington Mall in
    1968, something about a dream, something about freedom, something about a
    promissory note, something about from every hill and mole hill, something
    about every valley, something about my four little children, something about
    sons and daughters of former slaves and slave owners. It’s on DVD or CD
    some where, hell, I’ll even kick in a few bucks for a I-Pod or MP3 or a
    cassette player.

    Kenny Roger’s song says: You never count your money while your sitting at
    the table, there’ll be time enough for counting, when the dealings done.

    Brother Rev. you’re out of trumps, you’re not holding any aces, in the grand
    game of Bid Whist, at least don’t play against your partner, throw off, the
    team still wins.

  5. Poor Rev. Jesse. Won’t somebody give this old man a job? Maybe the next time he appears at a church a special offering can be collected to bank roll the publishing of a collection of his silly rhymes. The book could be entitled, “How Not To Be A Poet”. Anyone who attributes any credibility to the lame attempt at an apology is foolish. He faked an apology because his old ass was about to be viewed with his pants down; and guess who’s nuts have really been cut off. Wake up folks, this train has pulled out of the station and is chugging on down the tracks headed for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — get onboard or step aside.

  6. Jeff the Interpreter Says:

    NP: I admire your comments, seems like you can rise above the fray and look at this situation from a larger perspective. I on the other hand, want to hold Rev. Jackson accountable as I hold all people accountable for their failure to use their cognitive abilities. That statement should never have come out of the mouth of a Black man, especially one who has for years been the stallworth fighter for human rights. Nationally as well as globally,

    America is at the place of really showing the world the greatness it possess. I want the heros of the fifties, sixties and seventies to look at this moment as a absolute time of maturity. The old guard/good ole boys are dying off. We are looking at a new day. Dr. King’s speech in 1968 is a blueprint of our times. Seemily ironic that during the 40th anniversary of that historic speech the Democratic party will host its convention in Colorado, that same week to nominate an decendent of Africa and America.

    While we can do better than to belabor Rev. Jackson’s crude statement, we also should be brave enough to challenge ignorance when ever it rears its ugly head.

  7. Jeff the Interpreter Says:

    So long, Old Soldier

    Hmm, Looks like a good time for a blog to share with folks that Now is the Time, to not get distracted, Now is the Time, when we have to bring to America that promissory note, stained with the blood of your forefathers, Now is the Time, for racist with their lips dripping with the word of nullification to reconcile with their heritage, Now is the Time, when we can say stupidity from anyone is recognized as what it is. News talk shows and commentary have made this issue a punch line.

    What a shameful way for a old warrior to go out. Not on his sword of indignation, not protected by his shield of righteous protest, not even wearing his armor of determined protest. No, this famed and now fabled turned infamous warrior is going out in the dark corner of disgrace. His heroic exploits eclipse by stories of infidelity, self aggrandizement, self promotion and selfish vision. So long old soldier, I’ll tell your story to my grandkids, cuz they may never hear about you in the history books.

  8. Before I explain my take on Jesse Jacksons comments, I think all of us Black American’s need to reflect back on history and try to understand the course or path that have gotten us this far, before we start to make judgemental statements about how Jesse should just ride off into the wild blue yonder. Mr, Jackson has raised the conciousness of American debate more on racism, social, economic, political and legal injustice than any African American in our nations history since Dr. Martin Luther King. Regardless if some of you think that over the years, Mr. Jackson has been self serving, you must remember that as a man, he has had to feed his family just like everyone else. Many of you are responding out of ignorance, not really understanding your history or the nature of Politics. Jesse Jackson has been on the forefront when many cowered and exiled themselves for fear of reprisal or retribution if they spoke out. There are some leaders who have even left the country to live in other nations only to find the same oppression of darker peoples prevalent in their respective lands. There is a saying that, “people are the same wherever you go.” I believe that the “crabs in the barrel syndrome” is not applicable in this last instance here, regarding Jesse’s statement about how it would be wrong for Obama to follow Bushes’ race based initiative program. However, Jesse could have kept the metaphor to himself. He did not mean it literally. The statement made, was for the benefit of all of us whose grandfathers slaved for generations for no wages. You see, Obama’s father fled the country, for whatever reason. But our grandfather’s are buried in towns and cities all over this nation. So before those of you who wish Mr. Jackson would quietly leave the scene, it was him who stood up for us when no one else would. To this very day, he has remained convicted with hope despite his mishaps and occassional blunders. None of us are perfect. His political genuis and oratory skill is unmatched in the African-American Community. This generation of leaders and its constituentcy has not had to endure the struggle and pain of the baby boomer generation and some of their parents that are still here today. Matter in fact, we are your elders, and you must respect us with every ounce of civility in your souls. The oppression that we all have had to endure has left a lasting scar on the American psyche that will never be erased, no matter what black person is catapulted to the highest office of this land. Sometimes, people have to be put in check and must not take anyone or anything for granted. For God giveth and God can take away. When a child is growing up and he does something wrong then gets corrected by his father, although it may seem grievious, that father still loves and receives love in return. This is when forgiveness overrides any emotional hurt or pain. What we witnessed was a mutual respect of two men who are fighting the same battle at the same time. One older and wiser, and one younger and still learning. Was Jesse’s statement one of insubordination, no, for he is the elder statesman and in any family, the elder uses his ability and wisdom to correct, enforce and reward when it is necessary or merited. Being an African-American man in this country has been a castigating experience for millions who have been disenfranchised, marginalized, shutout, scapegoated, slandered, abused and denied equal access to the playing field by the white ruling class. Matter in fact, the reason why some of your fathers did not stay around is because they were denied a chance to prove themselves and some chose to walk away or cop out. Jesse Jackson stayed and is still here. There is a lot that you people need to learn! When you decide to examine the chronicles of history with a microscope than you will come to understand why standing up is the mark of a true man! Even if he has to draw his sword! Liberty or Death! You decide! Only cowards walk away! No one needs to tell Mr Jackson when to retire, there are many lessons that you kids still need to learn. Wake-up people and unshackle your minds for “it is a terrible thing to waste.”

  9. Jeff the interpreter Says:

    Dbrowser: I am not not following your argument, are you asking for us to excuse Rev. Jackson or give him a pass this time? I have the age and knowledge of fifty years to re-count the contribution of Rev. Jackson. I have an appreciation of his hard work and applaud his tenacity. Mr. Randall Robinson is living on some tropical island because of American policies, I don’t blame him because he took it upon himself to charter a plane to Southern Africa to obtain the release of Aristede, when the American government including Colin Powell kidnapped him and his family. I understand your desire to respect the freedom fighter that brought us thus far, but when Saul conspired to kill David it wasn’t because David was doing so well but because it was David’s destiny had come and Saul didn’t want to let go of his status.

    Whether Rev. Jackson was jealous or missing the limelight or being what we call in the streets, “A Hater”. the point is, to be so fill with indignation about a co-laborer in the struggle that he would resort to the historically worse way to debase a man and especially a Black man is to attack his reproductive organ long fabled by the White culture as ultimate emasculation. Not one brother I talked to accepted that statement. And all the brother’s agree that nothing warranted that kind of threat.

    If we are being too harsh on Rev. Jackson, its because we expected much more. If we are pushing him out the door so quickly, its because he opened so many doors, if we are dismissing him too blatantly. its because his statement was full of malice. We don’t want him to walk away.

    We want him to “lead, follow or get out of the way”.

  10. Unfortunately, the division among African-Americans is something that will either cause us to wake-up or be defeated. Now that we have the opportunity to be represented by a man of African descent in the office of President of the United States, many are jockeying for position to be included in the “to the victor goes the spoils game.” If you recall, before the jump to the other side by the older black supporters of Clinton, they felt threatened by a newcomer who broke down the barriers that they were trying to, for decades. Although, they were allowed to meet at the table, but not really having an effective voice, when the Republicans and those oppositional Democrats had thumbed their noses at the Black Caucus for so long, many gave up fighting and decided to just go along and accept the peanuts that were thrown at them. President Clinton had the Black Establishment under control. There are many who benefited from pork and lobby. Even the faith-based initiative under Bush was simply a tool of pacification, while many of the beneficiaries have fleeced their own church communities without using those dollars for their intended purpose. Mr. Jackson was right about his reason for saying that, following Bushes idea is wrong! However, he could have kept his murmurings to himself. Politics are dirty, despite the smiles and frowns that we see and hear about in the media.

    Nevertheless, if Obama does not come to grips with the pain of the past that has been inflicted on so many, he will miss his true opportunity and its divine purpose. He must not doublespeak, nor flip flop on issues. He also, must act like a real man and stand up for righteousness and not give into the immoral left, because if he claims to be a Christian, then sides with evil, it only shows that he is a hypocrite just like those who preceded him. He must not disrespect the elderly Black Men of this country regardless! If so, he will be chastised more by his own! It was their fathers and grandfathers who built this nation and slaved away for no wages for 12 generations. So, he would be treading on thin ice if he says anything else to disrespect black men period, regardless if most of us are poor! Many are still denied opportunity and are disenfranchised, Obama earned his stripes, but there are still “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, while living in squalid circumstance and are dealing with the pain inflicted upon them by the white ruling class the best they know how; and this is something that none of us can deny. There are many brothers, besides Jesse that know what is best for this country and our people and how to make things better! If Obama does not tap into to this vast depository he will be just another pawn and used as a symbolic token with no real power and authority.

  11. GARY ALLEN Says:


  12. Being mad at Jesse will not get us anywhere and believe, he will not be the reason why, if Obama loses. The evil forces were working long before Brother Jackson made his blunders. Matter in fact, they have stepped up their game headed for the home stretch. This maybe a dangling carrot that lifts us up, just to be let down again. History has a way of repeating itself and Clinton’s team has not healed from their defeat. The polls are close and the devil always has something up his sleave. So beware, putting your trust in Nobles is warned against in the scriptures. But, someone has to lead this world towards a legitimate peace and who else could it possibly be? The timeline of history is running out!

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