Q: The trip to Syria in '83 to free the downed U.S. pilot, Robert Goodman...can you talk about that?
Well, that was really exciting and obviously boosted his chances. There had been so many diplomatic efforts on the part of the government and on the part of others to bring this person back and when Jesse Jackson was able to go to Syria and was able to persuade the authorities that they should allow him to bring him home.
I think that was one of the first times that people in very high places took Jesse Jackson seriously and recognized or realized what he potentially was capable of doing.
I think that up to that point that they had not viewed him --they viewed him as basically a preacher, as a person who could engage, who was charismatic and who could engage in rhetoric. But they did not see him as a person who could be a serious player in international affairs and foreign relations. He had done other things that I thought were very interesting -- but that was the first time that there was almost, there had to be some national recognition.
And what was interesting was that when they brought him back to the White House, President Reagan was there and there was sort of a press conference in the Rose Garden, it was very clear -- anyone watching that would know that it was, that President Reagan's every intent was that Jesse Jackson was to be seen but not heard at that press conference. That he would make remarks, the officer would make remarks and that would be it. And Jesse Jackson would not speak. But Jesse Jackson literally took the microphone away from the President and spoke. And in many ways, I think that characterizes his relationship with people in the government, in high places in the government.
In many ways, they see the value of what a Jesse Jackson can do, what he is capable of.
And later, in May of 1999:
Three captured U.S. servicemen were handed over by Yugoslavia on Sunday to a delegation led by U.S. civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Jackson signed transfer documents for the three, Staff Sgt. Andrew Ramirez, 24, of Los Angeles; Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone, 25, of Smiths Creek, Michigan; and Steven Gonzales, 22, of Huntsville, Texas.
The three had been held for more than a month -- they were captured on March 31 while on patrol near the Yugoslav-Macedonian border. CNN's Walter Rodgers said the soldiers were boarding a bus for a four-hour trip to Zagreb, Croatia. From there, they were to travel to Germany to be debriefed, and to undergo medical exams.
From the article Three captured U.S. soldiers released by Yugoslavia at CNN.
I know, I know, why am I bringing up old stuff.