Jackson, Jr. sends robocall to District 2 voters, 'I am starting to heal' congressman tells constiuents

October 22, 2012 9:51:28 AM PDT
While it was not live, embattled South Side Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has contacted his constituents with his first public comments about what ails him, reaching out with a robocall.

In the call, Jackson sounds subdued. He asks his constituents for patience as he continues to recover but if anyone had any hopes he'd return to work soon, those are quickly dispelled.

In the heart of the South Shore neighborhood, just across the street from congressman Jesse Jackson Jr's district offices, his constituents listened to the robocall the congressman's office sent out Saturday.

"Like many human beings a series of events came together in my life at the same time and they have been difficult to sort through," Jackson said on the call. "I am human. I'm doing my best. I'm trying to sort through it all."

The robocall comes just as Jackson, who's been out of the public view for months, is reportedly heading back to the Mayo Clinic for treatment of bipolar depression. It is also just three weeks before Election Day.

"The call was totally political," said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington. "He wants to make sure he can seal the deal with the voters before the election. He's been hiding for months and this is his last ditch appeal to make sure he gets folks on his side."

In the call, the congressman goes on to ask his constituents, not just for sympathy, but for patience.

"I'm starting to heal," he said. "The good news is my health is improving. But my doctors tell me the road to recovery is a long one. . . I am anxious to return to work on your behalf, but at this time it's against medical advice."

While many of those who listened continue to support him, others are losing patience with the absentee congressman.

"Our eyebrows are raised," said Felicia Wince. "We have a lot of questions that aren't being answered. If he's having personal issues, he needs to fix that."

His political opponents aren't cutting him any slack. Independent Marcus Lewis also reacted to the call, going as far as to question whether it is in fact Jackson Jr.'s voice on the recording.

"We don't believe it's Congressman Jackson," said Independent candidate Marcus Lewis. "We believe it's an actor. Why couldn't he come forth for the public, the press and say the statement himself? It seemed too scripted."

"He's never taken responsibility for his actions," Washington said. "He blames the doctors, he blames circumstances. He blames his illness. He will have to step up to the plate shortly after Election Day."

ABC7 News reached out to Jackson's campaign manager and his congressional spokesperson for comment. Neither one were available.


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