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Jackson a Strategic Absence

By Kevin Merida
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Where was Jesse?

In the last several weeks of the battle for South Carolina, a slew of comedians, actors, congressmen and other notables have traipsed into and out of the state as surrogates for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. But one of the most prominent figures in Democratic politics over the past 25 years, and a native son of South Carolina, was absent.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has endorsed Obama and who won the state's 1988 Democratic caucus with 64 percent of the vote, was not asked to campaign here.

"A candidate has the right to choose his own surrogates and choose them strategically," Jackson told The Trail by phone on Saturday night.

But though Jackson was diplomatic, some of his supporters were not.

Kevin Gray, a longtime South Carolina activist and state coordinator of Jackson's '88 campaign, said white Democrats have long operated on the fear that if you bring Jackson into the state you scare off white voters. "And Obama has taken the same position," Gray said. "You can't invite Jesse to campaign in his home state, but you can invite all the people who fought our agenda to be on stage?"

Gray included in that roster such Obama supporters as former Gov. Jim Hodges and former South Carolina Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian.

Candice Tolliver, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said there was no effort to distance Jackson in South Carolina and that Obama very much appreciates Jackson's support. "The idea that there is some kind of gulf between the senator and Rev. Jackson is false," she said.

In any case, it didn't appear that the Obama campaign needed Jackson this time, as it ran away with the black vote. Jackson got 90 percent of the black vote in his '88 bid.

Maybe the Obama campaign had no use for Jackson here, but John Edwards did. In the closing days of the campaign, a flier circulated to black households included a blown-up quote from Jackson that appeared on Nov. 27, 2007 in the Chicago Sun-Times: "The Democratic candidates -- with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans' Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign -- have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 26, 2008; 8:43 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Hillary Rodham Clinton , John Edwards , Primaries , The Democrats  
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Such hatred will do more damage to you than to anyone else.

I actually don't think you believe anything you are saying. Instead you intend to divide the readers of your angry rhetoric along racial lines.

This won't work today. Gone are the days when nooses and white hoods could be used to build evil collectives of angry cowards. Today, there's almost nobody left who thinks like you.

And America is so much the better for it.

Posted by: edhere | January 27, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse


You're either a blind fool, or a pathetic, lying, lowlife racist traitor just like Obama. Either way you disgust me to no end.

Posted by: hotnuke2007 | January 27, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I swear that the filthy Clinton clan is behind the rapturous plugs that we're seeing pop up on talk sites such as this. Stuff by "hotnuke" is so incredibly crazy and dissociated from genuine opinion in this country -- which holds that Hillary is somebody we will have to vote for holding our nose merely to vote against the Republicans -- that I can't believe it is written by anybody who isn't on the payroll of the sinister Clintons.

Go home, Bill and hil. We're not through "thinking about tomorrow" and we don't need a restoration.

Posted by: drankland | January 27, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

America has won something today. It has been winning it slowly for decades, but today marked a new high water mark. What is it America won? The ability to recognize the truth.

America has finally reached the point where we can put the politics of race behind us and judge a man by his character. The lies of the power hungry may have some effect, but a solid majority of Americans can see through the lies. They have finally bought into the hope for our future that Barack Obama so eloquently describes.

At least it appears that way. Perhaps it's only an anomaly of South Carolina. Here's hoping that the lies told by the Clinton campaign, and reported by the media, will also be rejected by the rest of America.

We will find out February 5th. And if the honest, inspiring, leader named BARACK OBAMA is successful that day, then America is saved. For it will mean that our votes really matter. It will mean we've truly restored our democracy for the benefit of all Americans. And truthfully, it'll be a day I really will be proud to call myself an American.

Posted by: edhere | January 26, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

America lost something today. It has been losing it slowly for decades, but today marked its COMPLETE and UTTER disappearance. What is it that America lost? Its ability to recognize the truth.

America has finally been overrun by the lies of the Right-Wing controlled media. They've finally bought into the lies, hate, fear and divisiveness these scum have been selling.

At least it appears that way. Perhaps it's only an anomoly of South Carolina. Here's hoping it is. Here's hoping that the EVIL, VICIOUS, DESPICABLE LIES told by the Obama campaign about the Clintons, and repeated ad nauseum by their defacto surrogates in the Right-Wing media like Joe Scarborough, constantly saying over and over every day that the Clintons had injected race into this election, when they knew it was Obama who had, will not hold sway over the rest of America.

We will find out February 5th. And if the LYING, LOWLIFE, RACIST PIECE OF SHI*T NAMED BARACK OBAMA is successful that day, then America is doomed. For it will mean none of our votes really matter. It will mean we've truly become a corporate fascist state, controlled completely by a bunch of Right-Wing, Neo-Fascist scum in the media and their corporate controllers, bent on twisting reality to fit their needs at the cost of all Americans. And truthfully, it'll be a day I really will begin planning on leaving this country.

Posted by: hotnuke2007 | January 26, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

If Obama is smart he will steer clear of Jesse Jackson. JJ is a very polarizing figure, and Obama already has his hands full. He doesn't need a racial pot stirrer and hanger-on.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 26, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

This is Justice!
I have been sickened by the lies of the "evil twins"and their sadistic glee as they have tortured Obama with their Roveian tactics. They tried to show "the boy" that he had not earned his place at the plantation dining room.
Hurrah for America!
Maybe there is a God!

Posted by: skycontrol | January 26, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

The Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world (Andrew Young and that Lewis guy too), are afraid of Obama because he is different kind of statesman who is not beholden to the civil-rights era pols and hustlers. Should Obama take the nomination, these hucksters will be at Obama's feet, bowing the knee and trying to kiss the ring. It will be interesting . . .

Posted by: meldupree | January 26, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Yup, I think Jesse is history. The Clintons, too, if we are lucky.

Posted by: drankland | January 26, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Jackson must be bothered mightily. Obama has proved that African-Americans are not going to fall for the same old hustlers. He ought to slink away with the Clintons.


A Middle-Aged White Guy for Obama

Posted by: paget1 | January 26, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Felt like making a little mischief, did ya?

Posted by: jmccowan | January 26, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

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