BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama's most prominent black political caucus Saturday postponed its expected endorsement of the Rev. Jesse Jackson because the Democratic presidential candidate was not present for a screening session.
Jackson is the lopsided favorite to win the endorsement of the Alabama Democratic Conference, but the caucus, at the request of Chairman Joe Reed, voted to meet Dec. 19 to make its decision.
Reed said a 1970 rule requires a candidate to be present to get the endorsement of the ADC, which was founded in 1960. The rule was created to give the conference credibility at a time when white candidates wanted black support but did not want to be seen with black leaders, he said.
Reed, whose stand disturbed some Jackson supporters among the crowd of about 200, said Jackson and Sen. Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee were the only Democratic presidential candidates who had planned to attend. Both candidates had "unavoidable conflicts" in their schedules on Saturday, he said.
Jackson, Gore and Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis were in Austin for a meeting of the Texas Democratic Women.