Jesse Jackson said Friday he has "sent a message no one can miss" to Jewish voters troubled by his past actions.
Jackson, Michael Dukakis and Sen. Albert Gore Jr. canvassed New York City in search of votes in the April 19 primary, which will decide the breakdown of 255 delegates.In Manhattan, Jackson would not say whether he has agreed to meet with Jewish leaders to talk over his 1984 reference to New York City as "Hymietown" or his call for a Palestinian homeland, but he said, "We continue to build relationships, we continue to heal relationships."
He said that he has reached out to all ethnic groups, including Jews. "Our own commitment is to end any vestiges of racism, of anti-Semitism or sexism. We've sent a message no one can miss."
New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and state party chairman Laurence Kirwan sent a signal to other Democratic officials to line up behind one of the three Democrats in the race, and not await an endorsement from the governor. Gore and Jackson picked up some support, but party executive director John Marino said he thought the Massachusetts governor was the beneficiary.
"After yesterday, I got a clear sense of some movement to Dukakis," Marino said Friday.
A poll released Friday said Dukakis was the choice of 47 percent of likely Democratic voters, while 31 percent backed Jackson. Gore was the choice of 6 percent.
The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion questioned 404 Democrats Tuesday and Wednesday for the survey which had a margin of error of 5 percentage points. A similar survey conducted by the institute in mid-March had Dukakis the choice of 37 percent of Democrats and Jackson the pick of 28 percent.
A fourth Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois, put his campaign in cold storage on Thursday and drew sharp criticism from Jackson for technically remaining in the race to keep control of the block of 47 at-large delegates he will get as a result of his Illinois primary victory.
If Simon dropped out, those delegates would go to Jackson, who finished second in Illinois.
"I would hope that in time Mr. Simon . . . now that he has made the decision to leave the race will leave so honorably, and hide behind no technicalities to block those as my delegates which in fact belong to me," said Jackson.
Vice President George Bush, considered a sure bet for the Republican presidential nomination even by his only remaining rival, Pat Robertson, was heading for Texas to wind up the fund-raising phase of his campaign.
Robertson, who has said he will not campaign in New York, dropped his Secret Service protection on Thursday but an aide said the former television evangelist would remain an active candidate up to the GOP convention in New Orleans in August.