Iowa Press; 1434; Presidential Hopeful - Rev. Jesse Jackson
If I were president of 14:34 with Jesse Jackson like this 28 50.
Major funding for this program was provided by friends of Iowa Public Television.
He's a Baptist preacher a civil rights leader and self-appointed international diplomat and former presidential candidate. Now he's considering his second brother for the Democratic nomination for president tonight and I will press a discussion with presidential hopeful Jesse Jackson.
This is the Sunday June 7th.
I will play here it is being born.
Good evening. Next Friday worry an estimated 100000 Democrats will register their preferences for one of the several Democratic presidential hopefuls on the Iowa caucus. One of those Democrats seeking caucus support his one who left Iowa out of his 1984 presidential bid. He's Jesse Jackson and the reason given for bypassing Iowa 84 was that Jackson announced late and didn't have time to gear up an organizational effort here. But this time around it's different. Iowa is more of a priority this time for example Jackson has established an exploratory committee and Greenfield and this weekend marks his sixth visit to Iowa since January. And although he's best known for his civil rights activism Nancy Crowfoot reports Jackson in the last few years has also developed an active interest in Midwest farm issues.
It is April of 1995 the Reverend Jesse Jackson is in rural Missouri leading a rally to protest a farm for closure.
Is a digital phone line for the law and for this nation. A Christian gentleman and yet that today is about me.
Just like many of the causes he embraces Jackson preaches unity among his audiences as a means to promote change and rallies a crowd with the intensity of a Sunday morning sermon.
We must we must. And yet.
In his campaign appearances he has pledged to fight to improve the economic conditions for people in rural America.
Specifically he proposes to invest 10 percent of the assets in the nation's pension funds into community projects to aid economic recovery. Jackson has become a national advocate for many causes. He started out as a staff aide to the Reverend Martin Luther King. Later he was ordained a Baptist minister in 1981. He founded his own organization Operation Push which gained Jackson national notoriety by leading black consumer boycotts of companies like Coca-Cola and General Foods in recent years he has entered the international political arena. For example in 1904 he successfully negotiated with the Syrian president for the release of a captured U.S. pilot. He later negotiated with Cuban President Fidel Castro for the release of 48 American and Cuban prisoners.
As well as hitting upon the issues Jackson is also playing the political game something he was criticized for not doing in his 1984 bid for the presidency. This particular event is called Dubuque a night a party given for state legislators with many influential Iowa politicos in attendance and from all appearances Jackson this time around is running hard in Iowa.
Jackson's Iowa efforts seem to be working. His message hardly made a dent in Iowa in 1984 but a recent I will pull published by The Des Moines Register shows that Jackson has the support of 13 percent of Iowa Democrats and that puts him second in the Democratic race in Iowa trailing only Richard Gephardt of Missouri. What Jackson intends to do to become first in the eyes of Iowa Democrats is just one of the things we'll discuss tonight with our guest the Reverend Jesse Jackson Reverend Jackson will be questioned by David yaps a political reporter with The Des Moines Register. And by John Macaulay a columnist with The Burlington Hawkeye and other Harris newspapers.
Reverend Jackson I talk to a lot of Iowa Democrats who say they like what you say and they like you but they don't think you can win and they're not going to stand up for you on caucus night because they don't stand up for candidates they don't think can win the American presidency. How do you respond to those Democrats.
And is that the more access I gain the people the more people like and vet said Wow. Cause the people who they think can win. The bylaw corporations merge and workers of Persian our economy is submerged and yet the more they hear me put forth the thrust to reinvest in America and retrain our forces and nation they see that the Course makes sense. Many people have anxiety because we've never had a chance to meet. Never been to the picnic never been to the church or to the school but as a grad of access the barriers tend to come down. The fact is we are capable of generating 8 to 10 million popular votes and that's enough to win the nomination.
Why shouldn't I would Democrats stand up for you on caucus night.
Well if the Democrat was a Senate with someone who is so that with family farmers and small business people they ought to stand up with me in these last five years watch farmers driven from the land with no mercy toward them. The fact of the matter is the pharmas fed America and the Fed the world has gone down they deserve mercy.
Deserve a higher price supports just that they might at least be able to eat that they might be able to reduce their own debt by the sweat of their brow and not just by gives some kind of supply management program and a commitment to fine for them but the markets and wrassle with farmers and with families because one product is the breakdown of the infrastructure of the farm but the more personal part is that the infrastructure of people is breaking down the rise in divorce and suicides and liquor and drug consumption and dropping out and I must say I'm concerned about the personal infrastructure issues as well as the economic infrastructure of average actually.
You're different in several ad out today anyway. You're black of course. No country has struggled with that. You've juggled with it but you're also a preacher we've never had a preacher president and how do you think people are reacting to that.
Well we don't discriminate against people who are lawyers who act. Who who aspire to the highest office in the country we should not discriminate against ministers who whether one is a minister on ACTA one must abide by the laws of the Constitution then they simply must respect separation of powers in the executive judicial and legislative breakdown. Right now we have a president who has background as that of an actor. And yet we see in the Iran-Contra scandal he circumvented the US Congress and has us trapped in the crisis in the Middle East and in Central America. So I would think that if one has a passion for social and economic justice the ability to build a consensus among people and to set. Of course and build a coalition that person male or female should gain the support of the American people.
There's one other way you're different and I think it is very important caucuses which are political events in a way that voting on Election Day is not and that is you're an outsider. Politically you haven't come up through the political language you haven't paid your dues with all the county chairman and state chairman. And how how are you handling this political outsider problem.
Well I was not the reason why we were locked out of the right to vote before 1965. That was not taken but I did fight to bring down that Varia and become an insider and when we fought to get the right to vote. But since that time in the last eight years I have registered. More democratic and Democrat living in 1984 we registered 2 million new voters who voted Democratic because they did. We won elections in in Tennessee and Alabama and Michigan and Illinois that was projected we would not when the cost of Mr. Reagan was so popular. In 1986 those same voters went back to the polls again and elected congressman a senator should I say from. From North Carolina. Follow from Georgia and Breaux from Louisiana and Shelby from from from Alabama. So my dues have been paid and that is evidence. That our investment has resulted in a new US Senate headed by Democrats.
What makes you think Reverend Jackson in 1988 is the year of the American electorate is willing to elect a black to the presidency.
Well we will never really know. What the it will be until the American people have to make the challenge and the test. And I've seen the American people rise to the occasion. Many people thought in 1947 it was not time for a black baseball Branch Rickey had the courage and Jackie Robinson had the talent and that combination won a 1950 it was not time for Black to play professional basketball. RIDEAU back had the courage and Chuck Cooper had the talent but they were a step beyond that he brought back Bill Russell as coach and then sat Sanders and then Casey Jones. There will be a file he started when that is courageous leadership and talent with the will to serve people in the respawn. 25 years ago the American rebelled against black generals in the military service but they did not. I often think that the American people will read it all for a change.
Another leader is often the leaders it is their interest to keep the people isolated but the people responding to me and I must say in record breaking numbers and with great response.
And I'd like to break away from you as a presidential candidate for a moment you brought up baseball. I know you're into the issue of baseball exploitation. You talked about some of your activities as a black leader as a civil rights leader in America what is what is happening with your efforts on exploitation.
Well you know for some years with raised the question of baseball coming to a certain point and stopping Jack Robinson's last protests and he helped to found the organization was that there's not even the blacks a third base coach been drawn up around third base and we can't raise an issue and the response out of them kind of got on television and say had to believe that blacks were not intelligent enough to be baseball coaches and manages that and our compendious was not the lying off struck thing just as what the telling the truth and he embarrasses baseball 16 to a black no manages black or Hispanic and the women the more than half of the fans the three women who own baseball teams and women can be presidents of James and John manages and and lawyers and it minute ministry has just been a kind of a lock out. So we've had several follow up meetings and this coming Wednesday the meeting with Peter Ueberroth and the aunt is in Philadelphia at that time we expect them to come forth with a with in the front of Action Plan for women for black and white spandex for each major league team. If the owners had not come up with plans to to end the illegal activity then we will even move toward litigation in the courts.
Demonstration of the parks. You also indicated you're going to be meeting with some Wall Street economists and business leaders to put some pressure on them. Tell us about that.
It is number one that Wall Street is driven by by incentives and constraints not by BY CONSCIOUS. At this point the incentives for the merging of corporations the purging of workers and therefore the increase of unemployment compensation and welfare and homelessness and the submerging of our economy. These trashed national corporations now we speak up the biggest exporter from Taiwan is not Taiwan these business people it's American corporations. They closed plants without notice and our country took the business to Taiwan and they export to America exploiting Taiwan this labor. Well in that we must do several things number one. And the economic impact before a merger takes place we ought to be able to check off on the impact of jobs loss the tax base loss and what it means. A state may determine that the unemployment compensation the wealthy cause is so much greater than the reinvestment. It may choose to re industrialize a con rather than let go out of business. Case in point. Second the incentives must shift for merging and purging to reinvest in America retrain our workforce and our industrial last well that will allow us to do is to use pension money is more than a trillion dollars right now on the mayors and union leaders use at least 10 percent of that money to reinvest in America when we can make the steel steel workers on the training that the contracts we can lay the rail know we can build the cars that what it puts America back to work it turns tax consumers into revenue generators and taxpayers and reduces our deficit at the same time. And so when we meet with May as and Nashville next month we plan to put forth a plan invest in America.
Doing that though are you taking into consideration the fact that we have a world economy where you could invest in America but as long as we have certain economics in this country which keeps our labor costs above the rest of the world how are you going to make. How are you going to re industrialized America.
We must take that into account at this point they're determined to do share responsibility is to invest in Latin American countries. Well when we green line in Latin America and red line investing in America. And these countries will not be able to pay back the debt with the lose that money. All we invest in South Africa Taiwan and South Korea and slave labor that is workers who work 12 hours a day who work in the mentors who live in the mentors was it legal for them to organize those slave laborers on the cut out jobs. And so although we must be a factor in the world economy 10 percent of our money reinvest in America is a good sound investment to get back and build on the question that John asked earlier he was talking about you being a black a minister an outsider.
There are other differences too which I hope that you can enunciate here which distinguish you on the issues. Where are you different on the issues from other Democratic candidates.
I suppose one would be a real focus on reinvestment in America. They're retraining the re industrialize so as to make us more competitive and more able to focus and function in the world arena is secondary would be my foreign policy experience. I have been to southern Africa. The others there of them have not. I know that we need not alienate a half billion Africans so full million Afrikaners that we in fact have the power if we have the mindset to negotiate all foreign troops out of Angola. Cubans and South Africans the maybe it can become a strong force for the good in that region will will profit from it if economically Marlen geopolitically that. My view in the Middle East now is that we need a comprehensive international peace policy rather than a series of war policies we are not alone and gaining benefit from the Persian Gulf. So why should we be alone in the film in the Persian Gulf. Japanese benefit. The French benefit the British benefit the Russians benefit. These are international waters while we can together patrol those waters and not further jeopardize American lives.
Are you different from any other Democratic candidate in that particular view.
Well some of them support just bilateral action. The flying of the Kuwaiti ships with the American flag. Kuwait has been able to do which is not very well known is that four years ago they want to buy some jets from us. We would not sell them the military equipment so they bought them from the Russians which the Reagan forces kind of fight it this time around they said the Reagan forces you sold arms to Iran. Iran is using those arms to shoot down our ships. We want you now to flag those ships and you the free and our ships from Iran will you so on to when there was a slightest bit of hesitancy. They worked out the arrangement to leave nine tankers from the Soviets who with the fan the ships they leased three of them and when they did that was the Reagan ran TASA US Congress to flag those ships. We should not move that fast we should be more deliberate. Security Council meeting. And stop selling arms to Iran and Iraq and let joint cooperation take place in that Gulf. Russia. America.
French the British and Japan just to synthesise that is very quickly. You should think that American ships should be protecting the Persian Gulf and keeping that sea lane open is that right which should play a role in doing it unilaterally multilaterally.
We're not the sole beneficiaries but we should not be the sole protect set ourselves up as the police of that region the US not to get the murder flag was flying over the dormitory in Lebanon. The 250 American Marines were killed. The American flag was flying over the universe when in fact all Americans were taken and held hostage and they're still held that the American flag was flying over the USS Stark and the seven Americans were killed because American flag is not a terrorist. It is not equivalent to a peace plan for that region.
David Reverend Jackson. Let's narrow this down a little bit to the right to rural America and farm concerns. Coming off of Dean's question What makes you different from the other Democratic candidates on issues important to rural America and to farmers.
I suppose and one level our commitment to the Small Business Development this administration certainly has tried to close down the SBA. It has been through prole merger mania and these large corporations eating up smaller ones has devastated small businesses they have devastated family farms. That must be an international conference. On Food and Agriculture convene Wil-Dog and such a conference is called Will this this fall because the on the one hand we have the ability to over feed the world on the other hand that 700 million starving people 700 million people starving is a threat to roast ability. But since we have the heaviest hand in the rural world farm production rather than us being as Mr. Reagan is today sickened to the stable family farms all over the world and increased unemployment among farmers all of the world we should convene an international food and from Congress and begin to figure out how to stabilize and put a floor on the all farmers everywhere and stop allowing the growth of Monopoly and causing AG corporations that's gone for the straw from the farmers and small businesses.
What do you really know about rural America in about farming.
Well you know it's not just farming what I do know is that in people all these farms. We're sick and don't have insurance and we go to hospitals and die because they cannot get the medical treatment that we need a form of national health service. I do know that people on these farms who cannot afford to send their children to school and their children when they go out cannot get loans and they drop out and move and live as anesthesia for their pain.
And they drop out they cease to be productive people as a human factors not just the technical dimensions of farm prices is the whole gamut of displaced people displaced farmers in place the energy workers in Texas Oklahoma and Louisiana displaced steelworkers in Pittsburgh. That has been a radical economic polarization. And I put in the same coalition of people who have been the victims of Reaganomics and a change your use of the word.
Displaced reminds me of you using disenfranchised downtrodden that being your rainbow coalition.
How do you how do you expect to get the nomination and also win the presidency unless you expand your constituency or can you do it with that sort of a constituency and if you are how are you going to raise the necessary funds for example.
And we talk about the need in light of the crisis in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. All of a Pan American energy security alliance would better use the energy in Canada the coal fields in West Virginia the oil fields and in the Southwest Mexico and Venezuela. But how does that relate to expanding the constituency. It does because all of us and the workers have an interest. And I getting better use of coal and methanol in the West Virginia. All of us as the workers have an oath to stand up in the oil fields of Louisiana Oklahoma and Texas pumping again. It makes us more energy secure. It also puts workers back to work allows all of us to make profits from their work. And if we have better relations in this hemisphere on energy production and less dependent upon energy coming from the Middle East we say we gain several advantages not the least of which is putting people back to work and generating more revenue and reducing tax consumption.
Reverend Jackson I want to go to another baseball question of political baseball here. There's a there's a feeling that a lot of people a lot of your supporters have who I've talked to that if you should take off if you do well and do well in New Hampshire head toward the south that the Democratic Party will. Start devising ways to stop a Jesse Jackson. Do you think that that's that's possible is it at some point the the big boys in the party so to speak are going to try to cut your legs out from under us in the hole.
I've always supported the party all the way. And I cannot conceive of a bloc of Democrats of the loyal and respectful Democrats devising ways to stop the Democrats if we are true to our principles. Then we will embrace the candidate of all the people. It is becoming clearer that our approach to economic justice and fairness at home approach to the rule produces gaining a substantial following in this country rather than reacting to the leadership they should embrace and leadership and follow the course.
What they're worried about is is the backlash of your candidacy that you talk to Southern Democrats and they say you know the Jesse Jackson brings out racist voters. The worst in people. How do you propose to conduct yourself during this campaign to prevent a backlash.
Well maybe there should come a greenfield militia travel with us around the state militia go with us to South Dakota and Montana and the Cudahy Wisconsin with meat with meat packers. They will find that people by and large are beginning to grow out of minute barriers and make a new judgment when it's all said and done. People need leadership that's leadership that can build a consensus. Leadership that can help it. The why of these farmers invite me to come to their farms not invited myself because I represent a voice that they can trust. While these meat packers and cut a Wisconsin with American flags and flags and Jesse Jackson pictures on their doors inviting me because they have seen that 25 year period that mad track record in public service has gained their trust and their confidence. I must tell you I'm impressed.
But we've actually got just about a minute left. A lot of people I talk to say you're a different candidate than you were in 1984. Is that right.
How are you different. More mature experience more I've learned more. People reached out to me and I've reached out to people more we have. We've increased each other's content level. I don't feel I would be this welcomed in 4 years ago. On my best day but I am welcome here now and. And Frank there's been a kind of a kind of romance. I spoke to a conference of black mayors and in Miami about a month ago and took with me a group of farmers from and from Texas in the city rule our farm was an urban black males in the coalition there and they are supporting a family policy and the real farmer supporting an urban policy was to me like saying the lion and the lamb live on the gather and that's really the formula for peace in the valley.
One of the things about stopping Jesse Jackson one of the things that will stop a candidate very fast is to drag a skeleton out of the closet. And one way to stop that on your part is to expose it ahead of time and skeletons you want to tell us about now that somebody might drag out in the future to stop Jesse Jackson first of all I am afraid of skeletons and ghosts and so I would not have been around me.
With that we're going to close.
Thank you Reverend Jesse Jackson for being our guest this week and I will press not only faced with this week's program but with I will press for the season as well. We're back with a new series of programs in October. Before we go we'd like to update you on a former I will press regular panelist UPI reporter Norman Sandler has been elected president of the White House Correspondents Association Sandler appeared as a regular panelist on I will press for two years before transferring with United Press International to Washington D.C. In 1900 where he now covers the White House until next fall for our current regular panelists debut Upson and John McCormack.
Thanks for joining us. Stay tuned now for take one and have a good summer.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
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- The Rev. Jesse Jackson discusses his run for the Democratic Party nomination in the 1988 presidential election.
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Interviewee: Jackson, Jesse, 1941-
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