J.C. Watts on Jesse Jackson’s comments

Former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts, a Republican, is in Des Moines today on behalf of the "Ed in ’08" group.  Watts and I sat down at a table in the hallway just outside the Starbucks in downtown Des Moines this morning and I asked Watts what he thought of Jesse Jackson’s recent comments.  In a conversation caught by a live microphone, Jackson used crude language to criticize Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama for "talking down to black people."

Here is a five-minute-long mp3 of Watt’s reaction to this episode.

Watts started by saying he had said the same things Obama said "for 20 years.  I was criticized for saying many of those things."

"…I associate myself with (Obama’s) comments and I think, Kay, there is a discussion or a debate or a dialogue — whatever you want to call it — that I think needs to be had in the African American community and in the faith community as well," Watts said. 

"…While I’m old enough to remember the civil rights movement and how active and how vital and how important that was. I remember the day I couldn’t swim in the public swimming pool.  I had to sit in the balcony of the movie theater.  I couldn’t sit down below.  I remember the day that, you know, three of my white friends quit the football team when they moved me to quarterback because they said they didn’t feel right playing behind a black quarterback, so I remember those days…I’m old enough to remember that, but Kay I’m also young enough to understand that we are in an information, technology age and that education, while it’s always been important, is ten times more important or critical today."

UPDATE:  Here’s the Radio Iowa story on this topic.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.