Jesse Jackson Jr. speaks out on tough Democratic primary

January 31, 2012

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(WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)
Democratic Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. left the press conference abruptly.

In a rare media availability Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. spoke out about his upcoming battle for re-election. Jackson held a press conference to propose making part of the historic Pullman neighborhood a national park.

But Jackson was asked about some big endorsements in his upcoming Democratic primary race against former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson.

Jackson has claimed he's being endorsed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President Barack Obama. But that's not what Mayor Emanuel said a couple of weeks ago.

"I said he's a good friend, I said he's done good work. The real choice for Congressman will be by the people of the 2nd district, not me," Emanuel said.

Jackson said he does have the backing of both Emanuel and the president.

"I'm confident - I'm confident in that list. I double checked it myself and talked with everyone on that list myself," Jackson said.

Jackson did not say if he plans to debate Halvorson publicly. Instead, he said he'll participate in a forum with the Chicago Tribune.