Just days after Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. was accused of misusing campaign money and drinking with women who weren’t his wife at a local Washington, D.C. bar, the Illinois congressman has told The Daily he is “not well” in his first interview since he undertook an extended leave of absence.
Jackson, Jr. has not been seen by his constituents in nearly four months. During this time, Jackson’s wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, publicly announced that her husband was battling bipolar disorder and was undergoing treatment for the illness at the Mayo Clinic.
Since then, federal officials have confirmed they are investigating him for spending campaign money to decorate his house. Reports also came out the same day that Jackson, Jr. had been seen at Bier Baron Tavern on two nights last week with different women.
The Daily approached the congressman yesterday as he was smoking a cigar on the stoop of his $1.3 million home. He told the news site he has doctor’s appointments twice a day at George Washington University Hospital.
“I go over there … at 10 [a.m.] and 1 p.m.,” he said.
When asked what he was doing at the moment, Jackson responded that he had been “picking up my kids.”
He did not address the allegations about the campaign money.
When his father, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. arrived later he told The Daily his son is “just trying to clear his head. He’s been under medical supervision.”
Some political observers are wondering whether Jackson, Jr. can win re-election come November 6 in spite of his public issues.
“I think the numbers are in his favor because the people running against him are unknowns who don’t have any money,” said Delmarie Cobb, a staff member from his first House campaign in 1995. “Jackson has around $250,000 in his campaign coffers, I read recently, enough for direct mailings.”
She also had advice for him about the last four months.
“If I was advising him, I’d tell him he needs to hold a news conference to get his side of the story out there,” Cobb said. “If he’s going to have control of his message he has to orchestrate it, and sit down and prepare for it.”
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