The Rev. Jesse Jackson unwittingly threw red meat to cable news channels by making crude, off-the-cuff remarks about Sen. Barack Obama in front of a microphone he didn’t know was live.
Following a taping for a Fox News Channel show on Wednesday, Jackson made disparaging remarks about Obama’s regular lectures to African-Americans on a range of issues. Jackson considered the lectures as “talking down” to blacks and said he’d like to “cut his nuts off.”
Jackson called a press conference and arranged to appear on CNN to make a formal apology to Obama.
“For any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation may have caused, I apologize,” Jackson said in a statement to CNN. “My support for Sen. Obama’s campaign is wide, deep and unequivocal. I cherish this redemptive and historical moment.
“My appeal was for the moral content of his message to 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, which would be a corrective action for the lack of good choices that often led to their irresponsibility,” Jackson continued.
“That was the context of my private conversation, and it does not reflect any disparagement on my part for the historic event in which we are involved or my pride in Sen. 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.”
All three cable news channels picked up the story, and Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor” played a clip of the remarks on the 8 p.m. show Wednesday night.