Jesse Jackson, Stung by?Sex Scandal, Urges 'Week of Moral Outrage'

By Christine Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:27 PM EDT

( - In the middle of a tabloid scandal involving his extra-marital affair that produced an illegitimate child, Jesse Jackson is proclaiming this the "week of moral outrage" against the election of George W. Bush.

A visit to Jackson's Rainbow/Push Coalition Internet site finds a news release promising that Jackson's "coalition of conscience" will conduct a rally at Florida's state capital building on Inauguration Day, January 20th, to protest "the chicanery that occurred on November 7th and the crowning of a new president that followed."

Right alongside the Internet pop-up screen urging a "week of moral outrage" is another pop-up linking readers to Jackson's "response to the National [Enquirer] article" about the extra-marital affair with a former employee.

"I am father to a daughter who was born outside of my marriage," Jackson says in a statement released early Thursday. "This is no time for evasions, denials or alibis. I fully accept responsibility and I am truly sorry for my actions," said the man who dashed to President Clinton's side immediately after Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky made headlines in 1998.

As it turns out, Jackson was involved in an affair of his own around the same time. The child born of that affair, a girl, is now about two years old. Jackson refused to give details about the girl or her mother, except to say, "I love this child very much and have assumed responsibility for her emotional and financial support since she was born."

He said he has asked his family, friends, and supporters to forgive him. "I will be taking some time off to revive my spirit and reconnect with my family before I return to my public ministry," he said.

Paul Vasques, Florida field director of the AFL-CIO, a co-sponsor of the Saturday's anti-Bush rally and march, said Jackson's confession of infidelity will not compromise the message of the rally. "We don't see it as a distraction, [though] there's going to be some who do, obviously," said Vasques. "Really the only attention that we've had ... has been from media."

Despite Jackson's promise to take some time off, Vasques says he still expects Jackson to show up in Tallahassee Saturday. "He is still going to lead this march," said Vasques. "Jesse's going to be among the family here. I think that folks look at this, and this is something that obviously he's admitted is a mistake or something that he feels bad about, but none of us are perfect. We've all got our closets. It's not up to us to judge him."

Other groups participating in Saturday's rally are the NAACP, the Black Leadership Forum and the Congressional Black Caucus. Jean Ross, NAACP spokeswoman, said of Jackson, "It's a personal matter, as far as we're concerned. [Kweisi] Mfume (NAACP President and CEO) is going to be participating in the rally on Saturday, so that let's you know that our support is still there," she said.