- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 17, 2008

‘Hurtful words’

The Rev. Jesse Jackson used the “N-word” during a break in a TV interview where he criticized Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, Fox News confirmed Wednesday.

The longtime civil rights leader already came under fire this month for crude off-air comments he made against Mr. Obama in what he thought was a private conversation during a taping of a “Fox & Friends” news show.

In additional comments from that same conversation, first reported by TVNewser, Mr. Jackson is reported to have said Mr. Obama was “talking down to black people,” and referred to blacks with the N-word when he said Mr. Obama was telling them “how to behave.”

Though a Fox spokesman confirmed to the Associated Press that Mr. Jackson used the slur, the network declined to release the full transcript of the July 6 show and did not air the comments.

Mr. Jackson — who is traveling in Spain — apologized in a statement Wednesday for “hurtful words” but didn’t offer specifics.

“I am deeply saddened and distressed by the pain and sorrow that I have caused as a result of my hurtful words. I apologize again to Senator Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, their children as well as to the American public,” Mr. Jackson said in a written statement. “There really is no justification for my comments and I hope that the Obama family and the American public will forgive me. I also pray that we, as a nation, can move on to address the real issues that affect the American people.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Jackson’s civil rights organization, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, said she could not confirm that Mr. Jackson used the slur.


“Is Barack Obama worth $500 million? The Democratic Party is betting he’ll help bring in about that much — if not more,” Time magazine’s Jay Newton-Small writes at www.time.com.

“As the public face of the party, Obama is responsible for both his own campaign’s fund-raising and for that of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — a combined estimated goal of $450 million. He has also pledged to help Hillary Clinton with her reported $20 million debt to various vendors, and congressional Democrats are hoping that Obama’s financial coattails will be tens of millions of dollars long for their own electoral purposes,” Mr. Newton-Small said.

“These are staggering sums for someone who was still paying off his student loans three years ago. But the freshman Illinois senator shattered so many records in the primaries — raising nearly $300 million in 16 months — that he has become a victim of his own success in the general-election expectations game. The public has become numb to his staggering sums, as have his donors, a danger for a campaign seeking to make folks feel involved. After all, how much of a difference can an extra $25 make in a pool of half a billion?”

Elite pricing

“The truth is that the Democrats put the need to mitigate climate change ahead of the imperative of holding down gasoline prices at the pump,” Dick Morris writes in the Hill newspaper.

“If there was ever a fault line between elitist and populist approaches to a problem, this is it. In fact, liberals basically don’t see much wrong with $5 gas. Many have been urging a tax to achieve precisely this level, just like Europe has done for decades,” Mr. Morris said.

Obama said that he was unhappy that there was not a period of ‘gradual adjustment’ to the high prices, but seems to shed few tears over the current levels. After all, if your imperative is climate change, a high gas price is worth 10 times a ratified Kyoto treaty in bringing about change.

“Republicans can drive a truck through the gap between this elite opinion and the need for ordinary people to afford the journey to work in the morning. And, with a 16-state media buy, the Republican Party and the McCain campaign are doing precisely that.

“If Obama softens his aversion to drilling, it may be the final straw for some of his liberal supporters. Where would they go? Nader is still a possibility. But McCain can attract liberal votes. He doesn’t need to bleed Obama only from the right. His own stands against drilling in Alaska and torture of terror suspects and for immigration reform make him suspect on the right, but quite acceptable to the left. If moderate liberals are disgusted by Obama’s obvious attempts at chicanery and repositioning, they might just cross the aisle.”

Dicey move

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, says he may have made a mistake in using congressional stationery to solicit funds for a Harlem center for public service that will be named after him.

The Center for Responsibility and Ethics planned to file an ethics complaint with the House, accusing Mr. Rangel of violating House rules against using a congressional office letterhead for solicitations, the New York Post reports.

“The entire thing appears dicey, and there’s no question that, as soon as I can, I’m going to take a look at it,” Mr. Rangel said.

It’s been a rough week for Mr. Rangel, who on Monday announced he would give up one of his four rent-stabilized apartments after a report finding that he was improperly using one of them as an office.

Like a Fox

Howard Wolfson, the former Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign communications director who was just hired to do analysis and commentary for the Fox News Channel, says Democratic presidential candidates made a mistake in boycotting the TV network for much of the campaign.

“You can imagine that I and my colleagues on the Clinton campaign watched an enormous amount of cable television over the last 18 months,” Mr. Wolfson said during a press tour for the network. “We very quickly came to the conclusion that Fox’s coverage was outstanding. It was comprehensive and it was fair. We didn’t always like what was said about us. But we always felt we had a fair hearing when we had a concern or complaint.”

Mr. Wolfson, referring to the liberal boycott, added: “I think there is a growing recognition that it is a mistake not to talk to the largest single cable audience in the country, an audience composed of at least some independents, who will be deciding this election in large measure.”

Tom Jicha, who covers television for the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., commented: “This might be the first time Fox News has gotten a fair and balanced review from anyone to the left of John McCain.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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