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Bobby Rush, Danny Davis: Give Jesse Jackson Jr. some time to heal

 U.S. Congressman Representative Bobby Rush speaks Chicago Sun-Times behalf black contractors. Tuesday August 17 2012 | Scott Stewart~Sun Times

U.S. Congressman, Representative Bobby Rush, speaks to the Chicago Sun-Times on behalf of black contractors. Tuesday, August 17, 2012 | Scott Stewart~Sun Times

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Updated: November 24, 2012 6:24AM

Chicago congressmen Bobby Rush and Danny Davis, fresh off a meeting with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. at Jackson’s Washington D. C., residence, called on the public and the media to give Jackson the time and breathing space to allow his mental illness to heal.

“I appeal to you to give him and his family a chance to work their situation out, give him a chance to heal,” said Rush (D-IL) at a press conference at O’Hare Airport, where Rush and Davis had just landed Monday evening.

Davis, (D-IL) said Jackson “expressed a great deal of concern for his family, a great deal of concern for his constituents.”

Jackson also told his two colleagues that he had put out an automated call to residents in his district “asking for a level of patience, a level of understanding and that they would give him enough time to effectively recover so that decisions he would have to make would be based upon a solid foundation of good mental and emotional health,” according to Davis.

Rush said that Jackson’s absence from Congress has not harmed his district because the legislative body has been in session only 32 days since Jackson took his leave.

“Nothing really occurred in those 32 days, that his constituency has suffered,” Rush said.

And until his illness, Jackson had “an almost impeccable voting record,” according to Rush.

“It’s kind of paradoxical to me to see someone who has one of the best voting records in Congress now he’s being accused of being a loafer and not showing up for work,” Rush said.

Davis noted that Congress’ next lengthy session won’t be until January.

Rush was also critical of recent media reports about Jackson drinking in bars. “These accusations about bar-hopping and that kind of thing are ludicrous, it was not only disrespectful it had no basis in the truth. The man was not in a bar carousing with any women.”

Questioned as to why Jackson didn’t explain his illness earlier, Rush said, “He did not have time to respond . . .He went to the emergency room and then they decided to take him out of state for a while. He didn’t have a chance to figure out what he was going to say to the media and what he was going to say to the political establishment. I want to give him that. I think he deserves that,” Rush said.

Rush said that during the meeting with Jackson there were “periods Of great laughter and levity but there were also periods when he would actually cry when he would think about the affects of all this on his family and his children.”

Jackson didn’t ask the two Congressman for anything, Davis said. “He was pleased to see that his friends and colleagues were there to see about him,” Davis said.

The representative said that they did not go into detail with Jackson about his recent troubles, which include a congressional ethics investigation and a Justice Department investigation into his campaign finances.

Rush said that after their meeting Monday, Jackson planned to drive to the Mayo Clinic to avoid the media spotlight in Washington.

“His home is under attack,” Rush said. “He’s afraid to stick his head out the door without because he’s afraid there’s going to be some camera there that’s going to snatch a photograph.”

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