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Weirdest press release ever

Monday, Jul 9, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This statement from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s staff has to rank as one of the most bizarre official press releases ever

Congressman Jackson’s medical condition is more serious than we thought and initially believed. Recently, we have been made aware that he has grappled with certain physical and emotional ailments privately for a long period of time. At present, he is undergoing further evaluation and treatment at an inpatient medical facility. According to the preliminary diagnosis from his doctors, Congressman Jackson will need to receive extended inpatient treatment as well as continuing medical treatment thereafter. We ask that you keep Congressman Jackson and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult period.

It looks to me that his staff has been kept in the dark as well.

Weird, man. Just weird.

* Sen. Dick Durbin turned up the heat today

At a Chicago press conference, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., stopped just short of calling on Mr. Jackson to immediately detail why he is on an indefinite leave of absence from Congress.

But, in the coded language of politics, Mr. Durbin was surprisingly frank, as the diplomats would say, in his first public comments on the flap.

“As a public official, there comes a point when you have a responsibility to tell the public what’s going on,” Mr. Durbin said. Mr. Jackson “will soon have to make a report on the physical condition he’s struggling with.”

The senator would not define “soon” and said a temporary exception perhaps could be made if there were some “medical necessity” for telling constituents only that Mr. Jackson is being treated at an unnamed health facility for “certain physical and emotional ailments,” as a statement from his office termed it.
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

But Mr. Durbin said he’s “concerned” by the news blackout, and noted that he has received no information about Mr. Jackson’s condition.


  1. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 1:19 pm:

    It sure seems like Jackson is battling some form of addiction. Good for him for seeking treatment. On the other hand, it is unacceptable to keep his constituents in the dark and this has been mishandled from the start. The public tends to be very forgiving of those seeking treatment for addiction (assuming that’s what we’re dealing with here), but that is usually accompanied by some transparency and acknowledgement. He needs to disclose his location and the nature of his condition asap.

    Speaking of news blackouts, isn’t it time for another progress report on Mark Kirk’s recovery?

  2. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 1:20 pm:

    Still does not beat all the weird Press on John Stroger during his condition.

  3. - Capitol View - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 1:23 pm:

    lots of pressure from the Blago prosecutions and the US Senate seat auction / chaos.

    Is this stress related, or is it a dodge to keep the federal prosecutors away?

  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    “Emotional ailments” can cover a lot of ground, including addiction, depression, anxiety attacks, etc.

    I don’t see the point to the press release. It doesn’t inform. You have to lay it out at some point.

    It’s 2012. Thanks to courageous pioneers like Betty Ford and Harold Hughes you don’t have to slink away in shame to deal with such medical issues. They’re real and they can be grave. Most of us I suspect know brave people who fight their demons every day.

  5. - redrum - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 1:44 pm:

    Dick Durbin is a self serving loser. Give Congressman Jackson all the time he needs to recover properly. What’s the rush?

  6. - Skeeter - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 1:54 pm:

    Red, people would be inclined to give Jesse some time to recover if they had some clue as to what he was recovering from.

    Look at Sen. Kirk. As long as we have somewhat regular updates, we are OK with it.

    With Jesse, we have no idea what is happening. He needs to decide if his privacy is more important than his job. If he wants to walk away from Congress and keep his condition secret, that’s fine. But right now, he’s not serving the district and nobody has any idea why.

    That being said, that photo of the booze bottle in his office sure becomes more interesting.

    Of course, if the Congressman would let us know what is happening, nobody would wonder about the relevance of some bottle.

  7. - Shore - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 1:54 pm:

    the murder rate in chicago is the story right now and soaring and in typical state and city democrat fashion you don’t see danny davis or bobby rush or jesse jackson or mike quigley or schakowsky out there as the bodies pile up and national media picks up on it, you see this hide and seek game with jackson. The only big figure there who really came out early and commented on this was the mayor at a press conference and he had some pretty direct comments on this.

    Pretty typical of the arrogance and entitlement those folks have about their work and who they serve.

  8. - Skeeter - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:02 pm:

    Shore, I’m confused as to why you think a United States Congressman should be telling the City how to handle the crime rate. That seems like a local issue.

    That being said, I have heard many local Dems speaking out strongly against crime. Alderman Reilly has done an excellent job making sure patrols are added to his ward. Alderman Cappleman had a great job keeping people informed of what is happening in his ward. Others have done the same.

  9. - House of Pain - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:06 pm:

    Any chance we can make Durbin disappear?
    Jackson is simply suffering from FBI itis.

  10. - J - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:10 pm:

    I love how the bottle of scotch in the Jackson photo has been blown out of proportion from staff screw-up to some how confirming that Jackson is in rehab.

    But then again, when you fail communications 101, you can’t really complain about the coverage.

  11. - Shore - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:14 pm:

    Skeeter, you only have 1 police commissioner at a time, point taken, but if my area was in the midst of a massive murder wave I’d love to see my congressman out there making himself visible holding town halls ect. JJJ is not a freshman, he’s an 8 term member and on the appropriations committee. This is not cutting it. Quigley by the way today was working on some blood transfusion issue.

    Chicago politicians, always taking on the big issues.

  12. - Skeeter - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:20 pm:

    Shore, a few years ago my wife had major complications during surgery and needed many transfusions. Cong. Quigley was working today to increase the supply of blood available so that people like my wife can live to meet their children.

    Yeah, I think that is a big issue.

  13. - Bakersfield - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:20 pm:

    Between Walsh’s comments, Jackson’s disappearance, Tim Johnson’s change of heart 30 seconds after the primary ended and Bobby Rush being Bobby Rush the IL Congressional Delegation is on fire in 2012. Please tell me there’s another Men’s Health cover in the works.

  14. - Uncle Leo - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    I don’t believe President Obama is due to be on the cover of Men’s Health for a third time.

  15. - Shore - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:32 pm:

    Skeeter it is an important issue and the work should be done and I hope your wife is doing better, but it shouldn’t be the only thing the congressman is doing in the midst of a murder wave and it’s more than congressman jackson is doing. Instead he’s sucking up the time of his office trying to figure out where he is.

    I’d also like to see senator kirk more active in urban issues.

  16. - soccermom - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:40 pm:

    Gosh I am hesitant to require full disclosure about health status from elected officials. Where do we draw the line? Obviously, this is an extreme case. But what about someone who requires weekly treatment for something or other and misses votes? What about someone who is on a drug regimen that can have cognitive effects? I think even elected officials deserve some zone of privacy.

    However, you don’t get to issue lies about your condition. (Yes, I still remember hearing the official story that President Stroger was feeling a bit off and drove himself to the hospital..)

  17. - anon - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:43 pm:

    Wonder if he is getting treatment from the same place Tiger Woods went.

  18. - Gennoworth - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:48 pm:

    I thought this was the kind of privacy invasions HIPAA was supposed to prevent?

  19. - Billy Squier - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:49 pm:

    I’m not so sure his staff is “in the dark.” The fact that the John Stroger disingenuation served its purpose leads me to believe that this is being carefully orchestrated.

    That said, the truth should be told. This has been going on too long, he is an elected official who is paid by the taxpayers.

  20. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:51 pm:

    ===I’m not so sure his staff is “in the dark.”===

    If they were totally in the loop then word would’ve leaked out by now.

  21. - archibaldjones - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 2:56 pm:

    Jackson’s situation is a recipe for suicidal depression. If that’s true, even though there is no shame in it, it can be tough to admit, and discussing this story is much better than the alternative.

  22. - jt - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 3:21 pm:

    I agree with 47th ward. Celebrity rehab program for addiction treatment sounds right.

  23. - Anon III - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 3:32 pm:

    The electors of the Second Illinois Congressional District have both a Congressman and United States Senator who are currently nonfunctional. It appears both are and will be on bona-fide long-term disability.

    There are clear statutory provisions for succession upon the temporary disability of the President. While none would consider these legislators as essential as the President to the function of our national government, if these legislative officers have any functional value, the coincidence of these disabilities in the Second District establishes that those constituents are now deprived of representation.

    It has been said that their staffs are carrying on in their absence. No one elected the staff to serve in committee or on the floor.

    This is business that the House and the Senate ought to take care of before someone takes it to a Federal Court.

  24. - Because I say so... - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 3:40 pm:

    As a public servant, if you are not able to perform your duties, you need to communicate with constituents, disclose some information and how long you might be out of commission. The terrible way in which this has been handled just leads to speculation. If JJJ is suffering from an addition, good for him for seeking treatment. But, the level of compassion from voters may depend on the addiction.

  25. - Stones - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 3:45 pm:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It is unacceptable for a Member of Congress (public servant) to miss votes without a proper explanation. Physical exhaustion is not a proper explanation in my book. He owes his constituents more such as how long he could be off and how the duties associated with his office are beging addressed in his absence. I don’t think that is too much to ask.

  26. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 4:24 pm:

    –This is business that the House and the Senate ought to take care of before someone takes it to a Federal Court.–

    What are the grounds for action in federal court?

    Both Jackson and Kirk were found by their respective chambers to have been duly elected and qualified and were sworn for their terms.

    What actions, other than directing the Sergeants at Arms to arrest them and compel attendance, would you suggest for the House and Senate?

    Back in the 80s, Rep. Grotberg, who had been a rep. and senator in Springfield, had a heart attack and was in an out of a coma for the rest of his life. He never went back to Congress, but remained the Congressman until the day he died about ten months later.

  27. - Gennoworth - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 4:26 pm:

    Just curious, how many here actually live in Congressman Jackson’s district?

  28. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 4:29 pm:

    JJJ has taken a page from the former governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, and is hiking the Appalachian Trail.

  29. - Huh? - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 4:29 pm:

    JJJ has taken a page from the former governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, and is hiking the Appalachian Trail.

  30. - Wensicia - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 4:38 pm:

    The longer he stays out, the harder it gets for Jesse and his famiily to keep this under wraps.

  31. - Anon III - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 5:37 pm:

    WS @ 4:24

    I did not say that I would take the case to Federal Court, I said that someone might. Given the imaginative claims that have made their way through the Federal Courts in the last sixty years, I do not share your restrictive view of what might be alleged.

    That said, it is true that the Houses of Congress are the judge of qualifications and election of their members. But the case presented is that in the face of clear and substantial disability, the Congress does not judge the qualification of its members. That failure causes a constitutional deprivation of representation to the electors of the 2d District.

    In the case of the 2d Illinois, we have a bipartisan question. Legislative officers from both parties are nonfunctional.

  32. - redrum - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 6:11 pm:


    Jackson’s said he was “sick and exhausted” - isn’t that enough for you? Do you really need to thumb through Jackson’s mental health records? Has Kirk released his mental health or medical charts?

  33. - Skeeter - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 6:15 pm:

    Red, are you honestly comparing Kirk to Jackson? Let’s ponder that one.
    For one, the “illness” was announced within hours. For the other, it was completely covered up for two weeks.
    For one, the treatment center was fully disclosed.
    For the other, we have no idea where he might be.
    For one, doctors have taken questions about the condition and offered a prognosis.
    For the other, we have no idea if he’s even seen a doctor.
    Are you sure you find those two similar?

  34. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 6:57 pm:

    What is to be exhausted about? What are his legislative accomplishments in 17 years? He has pushed for a third airport to no avail.

  35. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 6:59 pm:

    JJJr deserves some privacy, but until he is a bit more forthright, I will assume he is suffering from extreme klieg light sensitivity and is sitting in a small dark room.


  36. - One to the Dome - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 7:42 pm:

    I’m suprised at Durbin. He didn’t just disappear, Jackson has a health related problem that is being reported. Regardless if it physical, mental, substance or something else, what difference does it make. we should allow him the time he needs. Even if he discloses the issue, is that REALLY gonna make his critics offer any concern? Nope. Even more, is anyone gonna say he better get better soon or else? I know a few Illinois House members who took time off and didnt have to explain why or when.

  37. - Team Sleep - Monday, Jul 9, 12 @ 11:03 pm:

    I have been a junior-level staffer (both government and campaign) for most of my career. It has always been my experience that many important issues and potential hot-button scandals/problems are kept away from most staff members. It’s unfortunate but it seems to me that JJJ’s senior level staffers are concerned that info will be leaked. JJJ needs to come clean before someone does leak sensitive intel to the press and he looks worse than he already does.

  38. - Observer - Tuesday, Jul 10, 12 @ 8:05 am:

    The difference between Jackson’s absence and Kirk’s absence is simple….. Kirk’s illness/absence is during his term. Jackson is standing for re-election in the fall, and it is unclear if he will be able to accomplish any of his duties as a congressman after the election. (Although I doubt he could lose that district in the general election, no matter what news comes out of this)

  39. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Jul 10, 12 @ 9:49 am:

    We know what is going on with Kirk. We also know more about Hugo Chavez’z condition than what is going on with Jackson. It is not that he needs to give us an day by day accounting, people just don’t trust him.

  40. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Tuesday, Jul 10, 12 @ 10:09 am:

    On June 6th Congressman Jackson introduced legislation that would increase the minimum wage to 1968 levels ($10/hour, adjusted for inflation).

    I didn’t hear any mention of that on the 10 o’clock Chicago area news programs.

    Was that reported on broadcast/cable/local “mainstream” media outlets?

  41. - Anthony Rizzo - Tuesday, Jul 10, 12 @ 10:10 am:

    It is what it is

  42. - In 630 - Tuesday, Jul 10, 12 @ 10:20 am:

    ===The difference between Jackson’s absence and Kirk’s absence is simple….. Kirk’s illness/absence is during his term. Jackson is standing for re-election in the fall===

    Except for the first few months of odd-numbered years Congressmen are always a few months from standing for re-election, a primary or general election is always right around the corner.

    The problem really is that the vague descriptions given sound so much like the language we associate with E! coverage of a celebrity meltdown. That’s really an mental association a public official should avoid triggering.

  43. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Tuesday, Jul 10, 12 @ 10:24 am:

    This is very serious.

    Trade associations, business lobbies, international lobbyists get their message to congress and out by paying for it one way or another and no one will be surprised if that process of purchasing influence is described as the workings of the “free” market.

    A congressman tries to get the minimum wage back to where it was over 40 years ago and the attempt is widely ignored or considered heavy handed government control.

  44. - Louie - Tuesday, Jul 10, 12 @ 10:32 am:

    Why should Jackson give a hoot. He knows he will be reelected with 90% of the vote regardless of what come out.

  45. - Southern Peggy R - Tuesday, Jul 10, 12 @ 10:59 am:

    I am surprised by Durbin again of late. He’s been leaning on EStL to do something about night clubs and crime, making progress. Can’t say he’s not on the case of urban crime.

  46. - Endangered Moderate Species - Tuesday, Jul 10, 12 @ 11:01 am:

    Louie is correct. It is a moot point. JJJ will be re-elected regardless of the outcome of this story. His team knows there is not much to gain by revealing the nature of his illness.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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