Talking Points: A Modern-Day Robin Hood?

Jesse Jackson reappears on CNN on the Lou Dobbs program. That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

As you may know, we have been trying to get Reverend Jackson on The Factor to explain how so many mistakes were made on his tax-exempt tax returns, but Jackson will not come on. So when we heard he was going to do Moneyline, we tuned in. We didn't get too much information, and we'll talk with Lou Dobbs about that in a moment.

What we did learn from the interview is that Jackson himself sees himself as a modern-day Robin Hood, using pressure tactics on big companies to get more minorities involved in big business. Talking Points believes that's a good thing, unless those tactics become predatory, like labeling a company racist or threatening a boycott without good reason.

But the big issue here is whether or not Jesse Jackson has enriched himself and his family by forcing big companies to hire his friends and then having those friends donate a lot of money back to him. We have heard that allegation over and over again. We have also heard that Jackson has used tax-exempt money to pay for personal things, and we continue to wonder why the IRS and the State of Illinois will not take a close look at his very dubious finances.

Lou Dobbs spent most of the interview asking Jackson about the pressure he puts on Fortune 500 companies.


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: There are those, as you know, however, that, for example, in the case of Toyota, who are charging you with extortion. The company had already decided to pull an ad, that you stepped in and -- and frankly, that you're extorting.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: No, that was an ad last year by Saatchi & Saatchi that said, "Unlike your boyfriend, Toyota goes to work in the morning," an insult. This time, an ad with a black face, perforated red lips, and a Toyota stuck in a tooth. The same company three years ago did an ad with two white hunters in a Hummer going through a jungle chasing a Kenyan runner.

So what we see is a surplus of insults in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Extortion's a very legal term. We're demanding reciprocal and balanced trade and an end to the insults.


In the end, Jackson didn't sweat. He coasted, as he has been able to do for almost four decades.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

President Bush has just said no to the Creative Wellness Program. That Housing and Urban Development plan cost the taxpayer $860,000 and taught Americans who live in public housing about burning incense and wearing feel-good colors like apricot to reduce stress.

The program was launched under former HUD Chief Andrew Cuomo. But it is now sadly history. Mr. Cuomo's spokesperson says the plan was put into motion by a civil servant, "who didn't know anything about it," which of course is ridiculous because our tax money was involved.

But, of course, that's the way it goes in Washington, DC.

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