ATLANTA -- Jesse Jackson won agreement from Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis's campaign to include a host of his platform positions, campaign and party leaders said today.
Three positions -- higher taxes for the rich, a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons and a plank supporting Palestinians -- will hit the floor for a debate that Party Chairman Paul Kirk said would be without 'rancor or discord.'
The agreement gives Jackson a significant hand in the final shape of the platform and allows his delegates a chance to have their say on the convention floor over the three issues.
However, Kirk said votes will be taken on the tax issue and on the nuclear question, but not on the Middle East plank.
Not putting the politically sensitive Middle East plank to a vote, said Kirk, would allow delegates to 'speak to the issue without drawing a line.'
Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jackson's platform strategist, said Jackson planks on nuclear testing, Central America, health care and education were acceptable to the Dukakis campaign.
'We anticipate that these Jackson amendments will be supported by both campaigns,' Norton told reporters.
'The triumph of the minority planks is that most of them will go into the majority platform,' she said, declaring that 'Jesse Jackson has had a greater impact' on any Democratic platform 'other than the nominee in (the) history' of the party.
Jackson's campaign had pushed for a plank promoting a five-year freeze on defense spending, but Norton said it was dropped in exchange for acceptance by the Dukakis camp of his proposal for a nuclear weapons testing moratorium and a missile flight test moratorium.
'There is no issue that is going to be debated, although strongly felt by both sides, no issue is going to be debated with rancor or discord,' said Kirk, adding that throughout the campaign, discussion of issues has been 'civil, constructive, positive and beneficial to our party.'
'That's the tone you'll hear,' Kirk added.
Kirk also said because the convention will open earlier than originally scheduled -- 3 p.m. EDT instead of 4:15 p.m. -- there will be extra platform debating time and extra time for 'both campaigns to speak in support of this solid but brief, direct and progressive statement of priorities and platforms of the Democratic Party.'
But party leaders, stymied by convention rules, failed in efforts to get an early start and only a few delegates were on hand shortly after 3 p.m. EDT when House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas, the convention chairman, tried to get an 'informal' discussion going on minority platform planks offered by Jackson's progressive forces.
Jackson Monday signaled a full debate 'over the soul of our party,' saying at a news conference after a nearly three-hour unity meeting with Dukakis, 'No doubt there will be debate and deliberation on tomorrow night.'
But the preacher-politician declared, 'Debate and deliberation stirs the soul of our democracy. ... We will debate policy, priorities and direction.'
Jackson forces had filed 13 possible minority planks by Monday, but representatives of the two camps discussed limiting the number of disputed issues to be presented to the delegates at the Omni Coliseum.
Late Monday, a source familiar with those talks said a scenario had been discussed that would give both sides victories on issues in line with the main thrust of the party in this election.
Of the 13 issues on which Jackson supporters on the 185-member platform committee filed dissenting reports, their leader focused on four: raising taxes for the wealthiest Americans, a five-year freeze on defense spending, a commitment to a 'no first use' policy with regard to nuclear weapons, and Palestinian self-determination as an essential part of Middle East policy.
Jackson delegates said they were concerned about getting their issues before the full convention and were awaiting word from the national campaign.
'We're just following our leaders,' said the Rev. Edward Freeman, chief of the Kansas Jackson caucus.
'I don't think it's over yet,' said Kristin Farr, a Jackson delegate from Redmond, Ore. 'The platform still needs to be worked out and the things that are important to Jesse need to be in there.'
The talks between the two camps were led by former Rep. Michael Barnes, D-Md., on behalf of the Dukakis campaign, and Norton, former head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, representing Jackson.
They were broken off by Jackson last week after Tuesday's announcement by Dukakis that he had chosen Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as his running mate.