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Jackson Out Of 2000 Race

Two-time Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson announced on the Internet Wednesday morning that he won't run for president in 2000.

Jackson said he can more effectively wage his battles "outside the context of a presidential campaign."

He did not endorse another candidate.

Jackson made his announcement at 11 a.m. EST on the campaign Web site of his son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., at www.jessejacksonjr.org.

Jackson's wife, Jacqueline, had told friends her husband would not run.

Jackson himself said on Black Entertainment Television's Lead Story over the weekend that he was "not very motivated to at this point" to challenge Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic nomination.

He cited his campaign to pressure Wall Street into providing more start-up capital to minorities as one way he might be able to do more good outside a race for office.

Speaking to reporters in Chicago on Tuesday, Jackson said, "You can rest assured that tomorrow we will share with you what we intend to do and how. ... We intend to impact public policy in a major way in 1999 and 2000."

He had been said to be concerned that the newly condensed primary season, which requires candidates to raise greater amounts of money sooner, could inhibit his ability to be a contender.

In addition, Jackson hadn't begun building the kind of organization needed to mount a serious presidential run, nor had he begun raising money for a bid, people close to him said.

The younger Jackson had strongly advocated that his father join the race.

In addition, his father's announcement will bring attention to the Web site and raise the profile of what for Jackson Jr. is the beginning of an ambitious effort to build a grass-roots political organization to rival the political power of the religious right.

With Jackson bowing out, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey remains Gore's only declared competitor so far.

Other prominent Democrats who have opted out are Sens. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri.

Jackson's first White House bid in 1984 was followed by a second populist race in 1988. Nearly every presidential election season since has seen him at least contemplate a rerun.

The 57-year-old Jackson, who calls both Chicago and Washington home, has never held public office but remains one of the country's best-known black political leaders.

He founded Operation PUSH in 1971. He still runs the now-merged Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization seeking economic and political empowerment for minorities. Jackson also is the author of two books, the host of the CNN talk show Both Sides with Jesse Jackson and President Clinton's envoy for democracy in Africa.

Earlier this decade, Jackson was the District of Columbia's "hadow senator," advocating statehood and voting representation in Congress for the nation's capital city.

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