Jackson courts ADC vote for Obama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Democratic Conference heard U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s appeal for their endorsement of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in the state’s presidential primary.

The ADC, the state’s oldest and most influential black political organization, will not formally endorse a candidate in the state’s Feb. 5 presidential primary until October.

‘‘You can believe in Iraq — and that’s a whole lot to believe in,’’ Jackson, D-Ill., told some 400 ADC members Saturday. ‘‘But my friends, you can believe that Barack Obama is the next president of the United States.’’

Some ADC members informally surveyed Saturday favor U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., over Obama of Illinois.

‘‘I like them both. And if I was a betting man I’d say that Clinton will probably win the primary, but it’s going to be close,’’ said ADC member Willie Brown, an Etowah County commissioner. ‘‘I haven’t made up my mind between those two, but it’s a choice that really divides your head and your heart. My head says Clinton but my heart says Obama.’’

Jackson said it’s time to come together and build a more perfect union. Instead of questioning whether a candidate is ‘‘black enough,’’ some people need to let go and move on, Jackson said. That would mean some people will have to stop holding onto the past and start looking to the future, he said.

‘‘It doesn’t matter whether you are black, white, rich or poor,’’ Jackson said. ‘‘We need to build a more perfect union for everybody.’’

The ADC convention theme was ‘‘Taking Back Alabama in 2008.’’

ADC Chairman Joe Reed said he looked forward to October when the group will meet in Birmingham to make its endorsements.

‘‘It was a great day,’’ Reed said. ‘‘It tells us that we can, by working together, take back the South.’’