The Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized Wednesday for saying Obama is “talking down to black people” during what he thought was a private conversation with a FOX News reporter Sunday.
Jackson also made an off-hand comment about cutting off a part of Obama’s anatomy.
But at a press conference he called late Wednesday in Chicago, Jackson said he supports Obama “unequivocally” and that he hopes to “get this behind me.”
“I have great passion for this campaign and traveled across the country … arguing the case for the campaign,” Jackson said. “If this thing I said in a hot-mic statement … contributed as a distraction, I offer apology for that. I don’t want harm or hurt to come to this campaign.”
He added, “They were hurtful and wrong … but we have a relationship that can survive this.”
The original comments referenced Obama’s speeches in black churches. Jackson said in a written statement he was trying to emphasize that Obama’s moral message should “not only deal with the personal and moral responsibility of black males, but to deal with the collective moral responsibility of government and the public policy.”
FOX News is scheduled to air the comments at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Jackson said the conversation “does not reflect any disparagement on my part for the historic event in which we are involved or my pride in Senator Barack Obama, who is leading it, whom I have supported by crisscrossing this nation in every level of media and audience from the beginning in absolute terms.”
Jackson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he doesn’t remember exactly what he said Sunday but that he was “very sorry” for his comments about Obama. He called his comments “a side light in a broader conversation about urban disparities.”
Jackson said he has called Obama’s campaign to apologize.
Obama’s campaign had no comment on the matter.
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