Jesse Jackson Takes Issue with Gop's Colin Powell

Article excerpt

Jesse Jackson took on Colin Powell Tuesday, faulting the Republican convention's opening-night speaker for "strained logic."

Jackson told home-state Illinois delegates to the Democratic National Convention that Powell, a retired Army general "of great stature," had turned his back on his beginnings by embracing the GOP.

He said Powell's ascent to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was the product of labor rights, military desegregation, public accommodations and right-to-vote laws passed under Democratic leadership.

Later, Jackson told reporters, "It is a contradiction to be the valedictorian of the affirmative action class and then support those who would deny the continuation of your opportunities to the next generation."

He said that disagreement between him and Powell - two of the nation's most influential African-Americans - is not about personalities.

"If Illinois is playing Iowa, you can have good friends on the other team," Jackson said. "But that does not mean they will run touchdowns without being tackled. Now that he's out of the stands and on the playing field, he's a good guy and even a good friend, but he has on a different color uniform."

Jackson drew on the infamous party divisions at the Democrats' last Chicago convention, in 1968, to illustrate why it is important not to let President Bill Clinton's signing of a controversial welfare reform bill alienate disapproving liberals.

"The issue then was warfare, and now it's welfare," Jackson told the Illinois delegation meeting, noting that the '68 session came a few months after the assassinations of the Rev. …