WASHINGTON – The Rev. Jesse Jackson (search) and other black political leaders spread a message of victimization that leads most blacks to vote Democratic, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson (search) charged Wednesday.
The HUD secretary said he has advised President Bush's campaign to focus its efforts on younger blacks who did not grow up during the civil rights era because older blacks who did "have been conditioned" to vote Democratic by Jesse Jackson, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond (search), NAACP President Kweisi Mfume (search) and others.
"They have made a living telling black people they are victims," the HUD secretary said in an interview with The Associated Press. "As long as they keep them in victim mode, they have liberals who will take care of them."
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry announced Wednesday that Jesse Jackson has joined the campaign as a senior adviser. The move comes amid recent polling showing Kerry's support slipping among blacks.
The Kerry campaign said Jesse Jackson will travel to battleground states to energize Democratic support for Kerry and running mate John Edwards.
A Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday showed 73 percent of blacks supporting Kerry, down from 83 percent in August. Bush's support among blacks was at 12 percent, up from 6 percent.
The HUD secretary, who said he has been consulting with Bush strategist Karl Rove and other campaign officials, said Republicans are targeting blacks who are under 40 with a message that Bush's economic policies are better for them.
"You can't rise as a class. You have to rise individually. It's what many of the civil rights-era people don't understand," he said. "They want us to rise together, they keep telling us that we are victims. If they keep telling us they are victims, then there is a role for them to play."