Jesse Jackson has declared himself the Democratic front-runner of the 1992 presidential race and accused party members pushing him to run for mayor of Washington of trying to "divert our efforts at winning" a national campaign.
In an interview published Monday in The Boston Herald, Jackson inferred he was the only Democrat with enough vote-getting potential for a presidential run in 1992. Asked if there was another Democratic contender, Jackson said, "Name one.""The question becomes `What other Democrat right now that we know can get seven million votes?' It's obvious I can get more than seven million," said Jackson, who lost the 1988 Democratic nomination to Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.
Jackson, 47, who spoke at an anti-drug rally in Boston Sunday, recently renovated a house he owns in Washington and plans to live there part time. That news has sparked stories he may run for mayor in 1990, the Herald said.
Jackson said he was undecided about a mayoral run. He has said he would not run if current mayor Marion Barry sought re-election. In a similar interview over the weekend with the Cable News Network Jackson said it would be premature to assume Barry will not run.
"Someone said we must take a hard look at Washington because we're number one in the polls," Jackson told the Herald. "Well, we're also number one in the national Democratic polls. So we have political choices to make."
The Herald reported a number of top Democratic leaders have suggested the party would be better off if Jackson made a mayoral bid instead of a White House run.
Jackson called those party members "cowards" and their thinking "hypocrisy."