Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Jesse's Strategist Warned Him to Keep It in His Pants

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"The downfall of almost every man has been not being able to keep his pants zipped," Jackson Jr.'s former strategist says. "Don't fall prey to that weakness."

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It was fifteen years ago -- a lifetime in politics. 

But, as Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was about to be sworn in as the 2nd District Congressman, his political strategist Delmarie Cobb had a warning. 

Cobb and Jackson Jr. were browsing a book store in Washington that December, looking for Barack Obama's recently published book, Dreams From My Father. Obama was just launching his political career, and the next year he would be elected to the Illinois Senate, succeeding State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator from Illinois' 13th District.

"Jesse Jr. and I were together at Kramer's Bookstore at DuPont Circle in Washington," Cobb said. "And one of the things we talked about was that the downfall of almost man has been not being able to keep his pants zipped. And that if he wanted to be different, don't fall prey to that weakness."

Cobb said she had hopes for Jackson Jr. to be different.

"I often called him 'Jesse Plus,' and what I meant by that he was not a tree shaker, he was a jelly maker," Cobb said. "And that was the accusation that his father was always accused of, was that he was a tree shaker and not a jelly maker. Jesse Jr. actually rolled up his sleeves and did work."

Cobb is no longer a strategist for Jackson.  But she said if she spoke to him directly she'd tell him: he was listening to the wrong people. And he became too arrogant.

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