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Jesse Jackson Rallies the Party Faithful in Wisconsin

5:00 AM, Jun 4, 2012 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES AND JOHN MCCORMACK
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Jackson engaged in a lengthy call-and-response with the crowd, urging them to respect themselves, to respect the sacrifices of those who came before them, and to vote on Tuesday. But some of Jackson’s comments were a bit awkward. In his critique of Wisconsin under Walker, Jackson spent a considerable chunk of his speech running down Milwaukee. "Milwaukee is the number one most segregated big city in America…and number four in poverty," he said, urging the activists to vote for the man who has served as Milwaukee’s mayor for the past eight years.

Virtually every one of the nearly dozen speakers who addressed the gathering emphasized the need to vote on Tuesday. “You gotta drag Pookie, Big Daddy, Sonny and Peaches to the polls,” exclaimed Representative Gwen Moore of Milwaukee.

Bob Peterson, head of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, was specific about the efforts his union is making to win on Tuesday. “One of the things we’ve done this year is put full effort into changing the political process,” declared Peterson, who said he wants student taught about “the labor movement” as part of their “core curriculum.”

He continued, boasting about the in-school activities of his union members. “We got the district to pass out flyers to every K-8 student, to go home – the back of that flyer says ‘Go Vote!’ Teachers have organized buses at schools to bring parents out, high school students out. And finally, for the next 48 hours, that’s what we’re going to be doing: Get out and vote.”

Mahlon Mitchell, former head of the firefighter union, who is running for lieutenant governor, awkwardly lurked in the back of the room observing the rally. Mitchell, who took pictures with attendees before the event began, did not address the gathering or appear on stage.

As Mitchell left the hall, shortly before Jesse Jackson began his remarks, TWS asked Mitchell why he didn’t speak. He was curt.

“I don’t want to.”

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