Sobbing Jesse Jackson, Jr. Embraced Blagojevich at Surreal Hugfest Last August

We've already seen how the media is covering up for Barack Obama to the extent of removing any information on the web that would show he met with Rod Blagojevich recently as chronicled by NewsBusters editor Tom Blumer. And now we have evidence that Jesse Jackson, Jr. "misspoke" when he claimed yesterday that the meeting he had with Monday Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was the first time the two had met in four years. It turns out that there is a video of a sobbing Jesse Jackson, Jr. embracing Blagojevich just last August at a breakfast of the Illinois delegation to the Democrat Nation Convention in Denver. Here is how the incredibly surreal hugfest was covered by the Chicago Tribune:

Let's hug it out

An emotional Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. touched off a surreal hugfest among bickering top Illinois Democrats meeting at a convention delegation breakfast, all in the name of party unity and Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential bid. Here's the tale of the tape:

*Jackson summons state Sen. Debbie Halvorson, who’s running for Congress. The two have feuded over control of a third airport in the south suburbs. They embrace.

*“Who else out here been mad at me I ain’t figured out yet?” Jackson asks. Without skipping a beat, Mayor Daley jumps out of his seat and hugs his critic who contemplated a run against him for mayor. In tears, Jackson says, “I’ve been trying to get to know Mayor Daley for 14 years.”

*But Jackson is “not going to be satisfied” until he sees Gov. Rod Blagojevich give House Speaker Michael Madigan a hug. The bad blood between the two is legendary and has ground state government to a halt.

*Sporting a smile from ear to ear, Madigan walks across the makeshift stage and hugs Blagojevich, who then turns and hugs Jackson.

I don't know what Jackson's definition of "met" is but hugging someone sure does sound like he met Blagojevich. The Chicago Sun-Times also reported on the tear-filled hugfest:

With a jaw-dropping series of hugs, feuding Illinois Democrats sought to bury hatchets Wednesday in a surreal display of unity-gone-wild.

It culminated in a brief embrace between Gov. Blagojevich and his political nemesis, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

"I just wonder if it's the altitude," Blagojevich said. "We'll find out when we get home."

The hug at the breakfast of the Illinois delegation to the Democratic National Convention was not followed by announcements of progress on legislative roadblocks on issues such as school funding or a capital plan. But Blagojevich said the hug beats the lack of communication that preceded it.

"Whenever you hug a guy, you oughtta be upbeat about it," the governor said.

Blagojevich and Madigan huddled for about 20 minutes at a party Mayor Daley hosted Tuesday, and again Wednesday as they stood on the convention floor nominating Barack Obama.

The group hug started when U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. sought to make peace with fellow South Side congressman Bobby Rush, who is recovering from cancer treatment.

"If there's anything we've ever done or I've ever done to offend you, I'm leaving it at this convention. You're my friend, and I appreciate you," Jackson said, jumping off the dais to give Rush a long hug to cheers from hundreds of delegates.

"All is forgiven," Rush said.

Jackson continued his redemption tour, calling state Sen. Debbie Halvorson over to apologize for the startling attacks he made on her as the Democratic candidate for the congressional seat next to his because he disagreed with her approach on the Peotone airport.

Then, Jackson asked, "Who else out here has been mad at me?"

Daley -- admitting later he felt sorry for Jackson -- surprised Jackson with a hug.

Jackson cried. He tried to speak but had to step away again, wiping his eyes.

Turning to the grudge match that has had the most consequences for Illinois, Jackson said, "I'm not going to be satisfied till I see Rod Blagojevich give Mike Madigan a hug."

The two rose and gave each other the briefest hug of the love fest.

Republicans ridiculed the pageant as "perverse."

"I don't think the guy who's out of work is excited about seeing these guys hug," said House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego).

According to the New Republic (remember, the NewsBusters Eye of Sauron is always upon you) the hugfest was initiated by Jackson's irritation that delegates at the breakfast were already getting up to snack on bagels and eggs:

At the Democratic convention in Denver, speaking on stage at one of the Chicago delegation's daily breakfasts, Jesse - in part irritated that delegates were already getting up to snack on eggs and bagels - began spontaneously demanding that Chicago's infamously fractious, backstabbing pols start physically hugging each other, for the sake of reconciling and coming together behind their native son's run. Crying and covering his face while the gaping delegates looked on, Jesse embraced his sometime adversaries Mayor Daley and Bobby Rush; looking around, he ordered Blagojevich to hug his enemy House Speaker Mike Madigan - and then clasped Blago himself.

It sure sounds like Jesse Jackson, Jr. was having himself a Rodney Dangerfield "I don't get no respect" moment which caused him to grandstand with his impromptu hugfest. So will the media cover up for Jackson just as they are currently doing for Obama? Your humble correspondent suspects not. Most likely they will toss Jesse Jackson, Jr. under the bus but continue to maintain that Obama never "inhaled" all that Chicago corruption surrounding him.

And whether or not Jesse Jackson, Jr. was involved in "pay for play" with Blagojevich over that vacant senate seat, his bizarre sobbing hugfest routine on that video alone should be enough to permanently disqualify him from ever holding higher office in the future.

2008 Congressional Chicago Tribune Rod Blagojevich; Barack Obama Jesse Jackson Jr.
P.J. Gladnick's picture