WASHINGTON -- Hospitalized Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. -- out of commission since June 10 and now a patient at the Mayo Clinic -- could be home fairly soon: around Sept. 1, his wife, Sandi, told me Wednesday.
The September target is "my hope," Sandi Jackson said in an interview. "God willing, [if] all the testing is done."
She did not have one doubt that Rep. Jackson will stand for re-election. I mention that because bubbling in the political background is noise -- I put it at the level of a hum -- about whether he will give up the seat.
"He cares very much about the work yet to be done," Sandi Jackson said.
Once back, he plans to campaign "vigorously," she said -- not because there is any real threat to his re-election; he faces nominal opposition in the heavily Democratic district -- but to demonstrate that he has the "fight" in him to be able to do his job in Congress.
"We have a very robust campaign under way and we expect to have Jesse back at the head of the campaign," she told me.
She wears four hats: wife, 7th Ward alderman, her husband's campaign manager, and 7th Ward committeeman.
"He will campaign vigorously throughout the district. Our campaign apparatus is still very much intact. As matter of fact, we have a meeting tonight with area coordinators and precinct captains, giving them their marching orders," she said.
She seemed optimistic that he will be out in public well before the election.
"Absolutely, absolutely," Sandi Jackson said. "I am encouraged and enthusiastic about what I am hearing from his doctors. I think once he leaves the medical facility he will be getting back in gear. I plan to be alongside him on the campaign trail shaking hands and kissing as many babies as we can."
Jackson checked into the famed clinic in Rochester, Minn., last month "for extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and gastrointestinal issues."
"Once he leaves he is going to be wanting to put his running shoes on and hit the ground running," she said. He faces Republican Brian Woodworth and independent Marcus Lewis in November.
I also talked with the Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday, and he told me his son is "responding to treatment."
The New York Post ran a story Wednesday -- attributed to un-named "family sources" -- saying that he wanted son Jonathan to take Jackson's seat if he were to give it up. Jonathan is a businessman and a "national spokesman" for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition founded by his father.
"The story is scurrilous, it is unfair, and it is not true," Rev. Jackson told me. "They made the whole story up . . . ain't remotely true."
The family role "is to be supportive. We are not talking politics at all," he said.
Anyway, since I am down this path, if for some reason Jackson decides to leave Congress, my bet is heavily on Sandi Jackson stepping in to replace him.
The Jackson children attend school in Washington and the Jacksons have what looks from the outside like a swell home off DuPont Circle here. We chatted about how there is a "history" of wives following their husbands to Congress.
In any case -- if it ever came to it -- Sandi has the clout to replace him.