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Jesse Jackson says sorry to Obama for ‘crude’ remark

WASHINGTON – Civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson apologized to Barack Obama on Wednesday for making a “crude” remark about him, which was picked up by a live television microphone.

Jackson said the Fox News microphone picked up his disparaging remarks about the way Obama, vying to be America’s first black president, addresses the African American community.

“For any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation may have caused, I apologize,” Jackson said in a statement, which did not specify the exact remark.

“My support for Senator 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 said.

“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 Senator Barack Obama, who is leading it.” Later, in an interview on CNN, Jackson said he had said “something I regret was crude. It was very private. And very much a sound bite.”

Jackson, 66, is a former associate of assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King, and made his own unsuccessful runs for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988.