Voters voice concern over Jesse Jackson Jr.'s mental condition

(CBS News) The wife of Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. says he may not return to work before next month's election. Some voters in his Chicago district want to know why he's running again.

Jackson has been on a medical leave for nearly four months, but he could win re-election without campaigning or even being seen. Jackson, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, hasn't been to his congressional office in Washington, D.C., since June and hasn't campaigned in his Chicago district at all.

According to Jackson's wife Sandi, the congressman wants to appear in public, but is still recovering. She said, "I know that he is anxious to do so, but he is also under doctor's orders to stay very calm, very quiet, and he is going to do that."

Jackson, an 18-year veteran of Congress, disappeared in June, at first without explanation. He was being treated in Arizona, then at the Mayo Clinic, but his office gave several different reasons for his absence before revealing the bipolar diagnosis.

CBS News Chicago station WBBM-TV correspondent Jay Levine said, "This has been mysterious episode from the word go, first it was fatigue, then it was depression, then it was bipolar disorder, then gastrointestinal problems. The problems have just dribbled out instead of being dealt with forthrightly in the beginning."

The congressman, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, Sr., remains popular enough in his heavily Democratic district to be re-elected, but some voters in Chicago wonder where he is and when he's coming back to work.

Voter Mario Christen told CBS News, "If you're severely depressed, I mean and you can't make an appearance, what are you going to do in office?"

Another, Randolph Jenkins, said, "How we can we vote for you again if you don't give us some respect by showing up and fighting for us still?"

Jackson has put his Washington, D.C. home on the real estate market, but not because of any plan to leave town. Jackson's wife says the family needs the money to pay medical bills not covered by congressional insurance.

Watch Wyatt Andrews' full report in the video above.

  • Wyatt Andrews

    Wyatt Andrews is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Washington D.C. He is responsible for tracking trends in politics, health care, energy, the environment and foreign affairs.

Comments