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Jesse Jackson: Obama Just Turned Crisis Into Opportunity

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JULY 9, 2008 UPDATE: Jesse Jackson's vulgar comments about Obama caught on tape...

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Reverend Jesse Jackson, who is no stranger to America's racial battles and whose own runs for the White House have been, on occasion, used as a barometer for Sen. Barack Obama, offered effusive praise for Obama's address today on the topic of race and politics.

The head of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, who supports Obama, claimed the Illinois Democrat had averted "crisis" and created "opportunity" by laying out a unifying vision to confront racial and political divides.

"I thought it was a culmination of tough-minded, tender-hearted and a clear vision," Jackson told the Huffington Post. "It really was warm, filling, captive, reconciling and comprehensive and it displayed real true grit. He was forthright not evasive and used it as a teaching moment in American history: America's struggle to overcome its past and become a more perfect union. And once he made the case about the past and the complexities of Reverend Wright's life or [Geraldine] Ferraro's for that matter, he made the case that we are here now, but this time we will go forward by hope and not backwards by fear."

Earlier in the day, Jackson appeared at a Take Back America conference on the legacy of Martin Luther King, in which the topic of race on the 2008 campaign trail came up with some regularity. Asked if he thought voters would respond well to the nuance and broad vision of Obama's address, Jackson said he had not doubt.

"I think American saw an even deeper and more profound view of him today," he said. "He has turned crisis into opportunity."