02/07/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Race A 'Diversion' In Burris Issue: Rev. Jesse Jackson

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says race should not be part of the debate over Roland Burris' appointment to the U.S. Senate seat previously held by President-elect Barack Obama.

"I think all discussion of race is a painful diversion," Rev. Jackson said Wednesday when asked whether he agreed with U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Chicago, that the job should go to an African-American.

"Roland's case is a legal case, it isn't about his race, or gender or religion," Rev. Jackson said. "Does the governor have the power to appoint a successor, yes or no? I think yes."

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