Sheila Simon’s guest blog

By Gus Bode

It was another great day to be a Democrat in Denver. Tonight at the convention we heard from Bill CLinton, Joe Biden, and Illinois’ own Tammy Duckworth. They all gave moving speeches. And the crowd went wild when Senator Obama came out at the end of the evening. Each night of the convention has had some kind of surprise like that.

But even more interesting to Illinoisans was the meeting of the Illinois delegation this morning. There were predictably rousing speeches, but at almost the end, Jesse Jackson Jr. delivered even more than a speech. He talked about reconcilation, with everyone assuming that the focus was on unifying the Clinton and Obama supporters. Instead he got much more personal and engaged in some reconciliation himself.

First he called to Congressman Bobby Rush and told him that if there were any differences between the two of them he would leave them in Denver. Rush responded by coming to stage, and Jackson jumped down off the stage to hug Rush. Then Jackson explained why he needed to and wanted to reconcile with Congressional candidate Debbie Halvorsen. She came an got a hug as well. After that Jackson said if there was anyone else in the room that he needed to get straight with he was willing to do it right now. Mayor Daley, seated right next to Jackson, sprung up to his feet in what appeared to be a lighthearted acceptance of the offer. They hugged, but the surprise was that Jackson was overcome with emotion. He had to turn away from the crowd to wipe aaway his tears, while his shoulders shook.


As if that wasn’t dramatic enough, Jackson annouced that nobody would leave until Speaker Madigan and Governor Blagojevic hugged. They promptly stood up and hugged each other! What a morning. I imagine that photo will be appearing on front pages tomorrow.

Again I am tired and energized all at once. Sorry about any sloppiness, but I really wanted to share this with anyone interested in what’s going on out here.

Sheila Simon

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