The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday night injected race into the national debate on health care, saying any black lawmaker who votes against President Obama's sweeping overhaul isn't really black, the Hill newspaper reported.
"We even have blacks voting against the health care bill," Jackson reportedly said at a Congressional Black Caucus reception Wednesday night honoring the 25th anniversary of the civil rights leader's run for president.
"You can't vote against health care and call yourself a black man," the Hill reported him saying.
The remark was a clear shot at Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., the only member of the CBC to vote against the House version of the health care legislation.
Davis refused to return fire against Jackson.
"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 said in a written statement to the newspaper. "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."
Jackson later reportedly said that he "didn't call anybody by name and I won't."