Obama comments on Jackson remarks

On his way to San Diego, Senator Obama answered questions from reporters on several issues, including last week's Jesse Jackson flap. The presidential candidate said, a few days before Jackson made the crude comments on the Fox News Channel, he spoke with Jackson about concerns over Obama's fatherhood speech.

Also Sunday, Obama was endorsed by the American Federation of Teacher's (AFT) at their convention in Chicago.

"I want you to know the AFT has just done the easy part of what we will do in this campaign, endorsing you for president of the United States of America," an AFTspeaker said to Senator Obama.

Despite the fact that the AFT's 80th annual convention was held in Chicago, Senator Obama's busy schedule forced him to address the big crowd via satellite from San Diego.

The controversial No Child Left Behind program was included in the presidential candidate's remarks.

"We have to fix the failures of No Child Left Behind by providing the funding that was promised, giving states the resources they need, and finally, meeting our commitment to special education," Obama said.

The senator also talked about the need for more parental responsibility in children's education.

"Responsibility for our children's education starts at home. We have to set high standards for them and spend time with them and love them," he said.

The theme of parental responsibility and the role of churches, specifically in the African-American community, is what sparked last week's Rev. Jesse Jackson controversy. The civil rights leader was caught whispering crude comments about Obama on the Fox News Channel while Jackson apparently thought he is microphone was off and he was off camera.

Jackson apologized, and Obama accepted, but Sunday was the first time Obama talked about the controversy in public.

Jackson was upset about Obama's Father's Day speech where the presidential candidate talked about parental responsibility and the need for faith-based programs. Jackson says government needs to play a bigger role. Obama says government and society as a whole has an obligation to help.

"There is a particular problem when more than half of African-American children are growing up without a father in the house, and often times, not even knowing their fathers," said Obama.

On his plane to San Diego, the senator also talked about his strategy to withdraw from Iraq and his upcoming trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama says he is only going to Iraq listen, not to negotiate or promise anything. Obama said he is still in the process of trying to find an appropriate site to visit.

Senator Obama said he does not expect withdrawal to be perfectly neat, but he says a timetable is needed.

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