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Jesse Jackson Has A Personal Axe To Grind With Obama

One important fact that got lost the other day when Jesse Jackson made his crude attack on Senator Barack Obama was that it was Jackson himself who is one of those dads who fathered a child as a result of an affair. For Jackson, Obama's calls for men to take more responsibility may have hit a little too close to home.

According to CNN, in 2001 an affair by Jackson with a staffer, Karin Stanford, who worked at Jackson's Rainbow Coalition headquarters resulted in the birth of a daughter named Ashley. Jackson who has been married since 1962, withdrew from public activism for a while after the scandal broke and continues to pay a $3,000 a month payment for child support each month.

Another personal reason that Jackson may have some problems with Obama is that Obama has emerged as a candidate with wide support in the White community and acceptance as a mainstream candidate, while Jackson never really emerged much farther than a fringe candidate whose best showing in 1998 was against Gov. Michael Dukakis in the Democratic primaries in which many voters had doubts about the ability of Dukakis and Jackson was the only other name on the ballot. That is hardly any reason for Jackson to claim a major breakthrough as a mainstream candidate.

Jesse Jackson has of course had many great achievements in his life which should not be diminished by some of his shortcomings. However, it may be a serious case of "sour grapes" that fueled Jackson to project his feelings about Obama, which has already achieved far more electoral success than Jackson ever did, despite a long life of activism. Jackson should be careful not to further damage his place in history as an important figure in civil rights or as someone who helps to prevent the first African American from becoming president. That would be a serious problem for the legacy of Jackson to ever live down.

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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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