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Jesse Jackson: Obama Should Have Been 'Tougher' With 'Extreme' Right-Wing in Debt Debate

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"He kind of underestimates...how determined they are to destroy him."

Rev. Jesse Jackson said President Barack Obama should have been "tougher" when dealing with Republicans during deficit negotiations, telling Politico on Friday that Obama has been too compromising and allowed the other side to drive the debate.

"He has a propensity to be trusting, on the side of reconciliation," Jackson said. "He kind of underestimates how ideological these guys are and how determined they are to destroy him."

As the window to reach a deal has dwindled, Jackson said he thinks members of the right-wing have "gotten used to watching him at some level give more ground....They feel they can keep pushing and he'll keep giving. They have not seen a stiffness."

Jackson said Obama should have threatened Congress with a unilateral approach early on to avoid the threat of financial disaster.

"The people on the ground need a clearer, stronger, LBJ-type voice," Jackson said. "He has that voice. It has to be used."

Jackson also attacked the "anti-Obama mania, the kamikaze guys who would take themselves down just to take him down" that the president faces. At the same time, he pointed to Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann as a reason Obama can hope for reelection: "His biggest asset at this point is the tea party and Bachmann. Those people are so extreme."

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