Jackson pledges to hold Clinton to his promises

WASHINGTON -- His rallying cry has often been, "Keep hope alive," but now the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson appears to be honing a new slogan: "Promises to Keep."

The one-time Democratic presidential candidate said yesterday that he will devote his energies in the coming months to making sure Bill Clinton sticks to his campaign promises, from jobs programs and urban aid to training and day care for welfare recipients.


"There'll be real competition for the president's attention. And there'll be those who say he can't afford to keep those promises," Mr. Jackson said at a breakfast with reporters. "We expect him to honor the covenant he made with the people."

DTC Mr. Jackson said he expects resistance, particularly in Congress, to cutting the military budget, which President-elect Clinton has said will be necessary to help finance job programs.


Mr. Jackson also expects tough going for universal health care and statehood for the District of Columbia, two other Clinton campaign promises.

"Those who voted for him on Nov. 3 must be prepared to help him fight to implement those plans," said Mr. Jackson, who was elected an unpaid "shadow" senator by the district to lobby Congress for statehood.

Mr. Jackson drew a parallel to 1964, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. finished campaigning for President Lyndon B. Johnson and asked for voting rights legislation. Mr. Johnson said he could never get such a bill through Congress. Marches from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., led by Dr. King, helped highlight the need for such a measure, which was passed the following year.

Throughout the campaign, Mr. Jackson was kept at arms length by Mr. Clinton, who crafted a centrist message to win back moderate and conservative Democrats from the Republicans. Mr. Jackson, who spent most of his time registering new voters, called the treatment from the Clinton camp "annoying" in a newspaper interview this week.

Mr. Jackson did not criticize Mr. Clinton yesterday, but there was a gentle prodding for action and a reminder that Mr. Jackson and black voters helped the Arkansas governor capture the White House. Mr. Jackson released statistics showing that black voter turnout was sharply higher this year than in 1988.

Mr. Clinton won 82 percent of the black vote nationwide. President Bush received 11 percent, and independent candidate Ross Perot received 7 percent.

Mr. Jackson, host of a weekly talk show on CNN, said he was not interested in a Cabinet job or ambassadorship in the new administration but acknowledged such a post has not been discussed with Mr. Clinton. He said he prefers to "remain part of the conscience of our country."