Jesse Jackson has, up until now, been somewhat muted in his support of Barack Obama. Likewise, Obama has kept him at arm's length, even though the former Democratic presidential candidate is a pledged advocate. But today, just after Barack Obama made a speech attempting to lift the lid off and expose the simmering pot of American racial tension, Jackson suddenly emerged exuberant.
"I thought [the speech] 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."
Maureen Dowd says she did not mistake a Times of London columnist for Michelle Obama. Ted Kennedy may or may not have had Graydon Carter spike a story about an illegitimate child of JFK. Tommy Hilfiger is getting married to former model Dee Ocleppo. Rosie O'Donnell stopped drinking because she was getting too fat. Jerry Seinfeld said he's not going to return to TV because he's "old, rich, and tired."
Ever since Obama swept Iowa last week, capping the win with a speech that seemed brushed by MLK's angel wing, we've been wondering what the Reverend Jesse Jackson has been thinking. Sure, the Rev endorsed the guy, but his remarks about Obama have been so lukewarm you have to wonder if the nod wasn't an obligatory matter of brothers supporting brothers. Not to mention that the candidate's camp has never particularly reached out to the Rev. (Could it be all those conservative pundits saying that O's a big hit precisely because he's not Jesse Jackson?) And the Rev's own wife endorsed Hillary. Finally, last night, we had our chance. At the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, where the Rev's RainbowPUSH Coalition and Bombay Sapphire have been hosting a five-day summit on minority business-ownership, the Rev was sitting haggardly (he has the flu) amidst a phalanx of large, suited handlers. Everyone was waiting for Angie Stone to perform. So we approached the Rev and asked if we could briefly interrupt his fluishness. We just had to know what was going on in his head since O's Iowa surge. "It's continuous growth," he murmured in that legendary semi-intelligible voice. "In 1988, we won thirteen states, so we laid the groundwork for change." According to Jackson, Obama once told him that he was a Columbia undergrad in 1984, when Jackson, Hart, and Mondale had a Democratic primary debate there. "That made [Obama] say, 'This was really possible,'" the Rev explained.
Ethan Hawke is dating the woman who used to be his kids' nanny. Mayor Bloomberg hit Joey Pantoliano with his car. Former Condé Nast chairman Steve Florio is still in the hospital despite having suffered a stroke two weeks ago. Former Sopranos star Aida Turturro left Stereo the other night after finding out that the stagehands' strike was over. Fergie took the stage twenty minutes late at a Wilhelmina party because of a wardrobe malfunction. A fourteen-acre property in Southampton is going on sale for $59 million.