The HillJesse Jackson: 'You can't vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man'
By Mike Soraghan - 11/18/09 05:42 PM ET
The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday night criticized Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) for voting against the Democrats’ signature healthcare bill.
“We even have blacks voting against the healthcare bill,” Jackson said at a reception Wednesday night. “You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”
The remark stirred a murmur at the reception, held by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation as part of a series of events revolving around the 25th anniversary of Jackson’s run for president. Several CBC members were in attendance, including Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who’d introduced Jackson.
Davis, who is running for governor, is the only black member of Congress from Alabama.
He is also the only member of the CBC to have voted against the healthcare bill earlier this month.
Davis referred to Jackson’s 1988 run for president in a statement, issued through his office, that said he would not engage Jackson on his criticism.
“One of the reasons that I like and admire Rev. Jesse Jackson is that 21 years ago he inspired the idea that a black politician would not be judged simply as a black leader,” Davis’s statement said. “The best way to honor Rev. Jackson’s legacy is to decline to engage in an argument with him that begins and ends with race.”