Jesse Jackson endorses Obama as ‘new generation’
CHICAGO » Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said yesterday he is backing Democrat Barack Obama in his presidential bid, giving his support to a new generation of black politicians.
"He has my vote," Jackson said in a telephone interview.
Jackson sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, winning 13 primaries and caucuses in 1988. His son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, has already endorsed the Hawaii-born Obama.
Jackson represents a different era of black politician, battle-tested by the civil rights struggles of the 1960s with Martin Luther King Jr.
Obama, 45, is biracial -- his white mother was from Kansas, his father Kenyan -- and educated at Ivy League universities after graduating from Punahou School in 1979.
Jackson could help Obama to secure the support of black voters, a critical bloc in the Democratic primaries.
He has a long history with one of Obama's chief rivals, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
But Jackson said his history with the Clintons does not complicate his decision to back his home-state senator, calling Obama Illinois' "favorite son."