East Texans React To Jesse Jackson's Obama Remarks

It was the whisper heard round the country.

Yesterday, Jesse Jackson apologized for comments he made about Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Today, that slip of the tongue by one black leader toward another is the talk of the town in black America. What sparked the comment?

As KLTV 7's Layron Livingston found out today, that question is being asked just about everywhere.

Inside Marsha's Place, hair isn't the only thing at the top of people's minds.

"If you have a person with the magnetic personality that Barack Obama has that can bring people of all races together, why would we mess it up," questions Bobbie Byrd.

Before taping an interview with Fox News, Reverend Jackson criticized Obama for talking down to black people, taking the criticism even further with some rather crude remarks.

Which has some asking: Why?

"I think he's jealous of Barack Obama, he never got as far as Obama," says Byrd.

"I would think that Rev. Jackson and those that led the civil rights movement in the 60's and great part of the 70's would applaud him and embrace him for the stance that he's taking," said Rev. Jerome Milton, who supports Barack Obama's candidacy.

Reverend Jerome Milton says the comment was definitely not a help, but a hinderance, especially in a time when he says politics are changing.

"When you look at the civil rights leaders of the 60s, yes, it was us against them, black against white, rich against poor - but now, Senator Obama is saying together, we do it better."

Milton says without people like Jackson, Obama would not be in the history-making position he's in today.

"Now, the baton has been passed to a new generation of visionaries. A new generation of leaders. They're running with the baton, and now it's time for the civil rights coaches to cheer them on," said Rev. Milton.

Obama has since accepted the Reverend's apology, but the Senator says he has no plans of changing his message.

Layron Livingston, reporting. llivingston@kltv.com