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WaPo Dept. of Burying the Lede: Jesse Jackson Jr. thought he was reincarnated chariot driver

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins

In a story on the front page of the Washington Post about the controversies surrounding reclusive Illinois Democratic congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., readers have to wade through 23 paragraphs before they hit the story’s most interesting nugget of information:

The prince [Jackson] was erecting the foundations of a power base, diving into countless local races by endorsing candidates, seeding the region with mayors and other local officials who would be loyal supporters. But he could be mercurial, former associates say. Jackson sometimes boasted that he was a reincarnated Greek chariot driver, [political operative Frank] Coconate said. “I really thought he had a problem with reality,” Coconate said. “He’d get in his own little world. He’d come out with outlandish things.” At one of Jackson’s hangouts — a Turkish bath — he’d prance naked, demonstrating martial arts moves, while the others stayed wrapped in towels, said Frank Avila Jr., a former supporter who is a Democratic operative. (Emphasis added.)

Now, to be fair to Jackson, the Post’s article does say that Coconate and Jackson had a falling out a few years ago, so take the story with a grain of salt. According to Coconate and Avila, Jackson also “called older African American lawmakers ‘plantation Negroes’ and whites were ‘lemonheads.’”

The Post quotes Frank Watkins, a spokesman for Jackson’s congressional office, as saying, “I’ve never heard him [Jackson] say anything remotely like that. It sounds completely foreign to me.”

 

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