By Jim Davenport
6:07 p.m. February 19, 2007
FLORENCE, S.C. – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday denied that her campaign traded money for an endorsement from one of South Carolina's most influential black politicians.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Clinton responded to questions about the consulting contract her campaign negotiated with state Sen. Darrell Jackson, who last week endorsed her candidacy rather than of top rivals John Edwards or Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
“Senator Jackson was someone who was involved in my husband's campaigns. He was someone we turned to for political advice and counsel and I'm proud to have him on my team,” Clinton told the AP.
Soon after the endorsement, Jackson acknowledged that his media consulting firm had negotiated a $10,000 per month contract with Clinton's campaign. Jackson has said he turned down more lucrative contracts from other candidates.
Although he backed Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary, Jackson said he now supports Clinton because she has the best shot of winning the White House.
Mo Elleithee, a Clinton spokesman, said Friday that Jackson's firm will advise the campaign on “political matters in South Carolina, outreach, organizing issues” and purchasing advertising.