CHICAGO, August 8 (AP)--Vice President Al Gore's selection of Jewish Sen. Joseph Lieberman as his running mate will further break down barriers of religion and race, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Tuesday. "Let the nation rejoice. The tent is getting bigger and better," Jackson said at a news conference at his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition headquarters. "Another barrier falls and another opportunity arises. A political risk, a moral certainty."
Gore "rejected a pattern of discrimination" that has limited the political opportunities of minorities, Jackson said.
"As Americans, whether Catholic, Jewish, or Protestant, we live in our faith, and we live under the law--the Constitution," he said. "Senator Lieberman has remained true to this standard."
Jackson said he doesn't agree across the board with Lieberman's positions. But he said both Gore and his new running mate are concerned about the poor, public education, and health care, and have a commitment to inclusion.
"That record is sound to me. It is the direction we must go as a nation," he said.
Blacks and Jews have had a sometimes rocky relationship, and Jackson, during his 1984 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, made remarks many Jews considered anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. But he believes blacks will have no problem supporting Lieberman and on Tuesday emphasized the shared experiences of blacks and Jews--allies against slavery and for civil rights; side-by-side in the labor movement; black soldiers liberating Holocaust victims during World War II.
"We've been in the trenches together," Jackson said. "I am convinced that once there is a dialogue between African-Americans and Senator Lieberman, they're going to reach common ground."