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Inside Politics: Absent Rep. Jackson surfaces, asks supporters for patience

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who has been undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder, told supporters this weekend in an automated phone call that he is "healing," but is not yet ready to return to work and asked for patience from his suburban Chicago constituents.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday that the Illinois Democrat is returning to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for treatment.

Mr. Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, took a leave of absence from Congress in June, originally citing stress and exhaustion before his staff and family acknowledged the congressman was seeking help for more serious issues.

Critics of the congressman have called for Mr. Jackson to drop his re-election bid, but the new message indicates Mr. Jackson intends to hang on to his job.

"I'm anxious to return to work on your behalf. But at this time, it's against medical advice. And while I will always give my all to my constituents. I will ask you to continue with your patience as I ask to get my health back," Mr. Jackson said.

Despite not actively campaigning for re-election, he is expected to easily retain his seat on Nov. 6.

The congressman, 47, is also facing a House investigation into allegations of financial impropriety.

CAMPAIGN

Fundraising records show soldiers backing Obama

Among smaller donors, the commander-in-chief's widest donor base last month was members of the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense, who gave 1,700 times to President Obama. Meanwhile, 300 Army members, and 127 in the Navy, are known to have given to rival Mitt Romney.

The perception of support among the military is much sought after in any campaign, but soldiers in recent years have gravitated to those who are more likely to bring them home to safety, preferring the non-interventionist Rep. Ron Paul over Mr. Obama, but Mr. Obama over other Republicans. Mr. Obama has pledged to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Mr. Romney's campaign failed to obtain employment information from a huge chunk of his donors, both making it hard to evaluate who a President Romney could be beholden to and also possibly understating the armed-services figures.

Employees of Kaiser, the health care conglomerate that, owing to its integrated model, stands to benefit from Mr. Obama's health care reforms, made 1,500 donations to the president last month. Some 1,872 donors gave their occupations as "disabled." Academics at elite colleges formed much of the remainder of Mr. Obama's small-donor money base.

FLORIDA

Romney takes a football break on eve of debate

DELRAY BEACH — Republican Mitt Romney took a break from debate preparations Sunday to watch reporters who cover him play football against his senior staff.

A little more than two weeks before Election Day, Mr. Romney headed to Delray Beach, where senior staffers were gathered across from the press team, all in flag-football uniforms. Mr. Romney walked down through the sand to officiate the coin toss and buck up his team.

The former Massachusetts governor handed bracelets to both team captains, New York Times reporter Ashley Parker and Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho. He told them the bracelets read, "Clear eyes, full hearts, America can't lose." It's a version of the slogan from TV's "Friday Night Lights" series about high school football.

After the coin toss, Mr. Romney gathered his aides into a huddle and led them in a cheer.

"Figure out which of their players is best and take them out early," Mr. Romney joked with them. "That's right, don't worry about injuries, guys. This counts. Win."

Mr. Romney didn't talk politics, refusing to answer a question about whether he would, as president, be open to one-on-one talks with Iran. The small group of reporters assigned to cover the event also asked about Monday's debate and new poll showing a tied race.

NEW YORK

Debate moderators taking their lumps this season

NEW YORK — Beneath Bob Schieffer's Southern charm is the tough spine of someone used to dealing with politicians. The moderator of Monday's final presidential debate will need it, because it has been open season on the other journalists who have done that job this campaign.

Thanks to a bitter campaign rivalry, thriving partisan media outlets and the growth of social media, debate moderator is approaching baseball umpire on the scale of thankless jobs.

Jim Lehrer was criticized for not doing enough, Candy Crowley for doing too much and Martha Raddatz was worked over about her 1991 wedding guest list that included President-to-be Barack Obama for a marriage to Mr. Obama's now-FCC chief that ended more than a decade ago. Though not unanimously so, the barbs were usually partisan in nature.

OHIO

County elections chief quits, says the job's too stressful

DAYTON — An Ohio county's director of elections has resigned because he says work on the coming presidential election was too stressful.

The Dayton Daily News reports that Miami County elections director Steve Quillen cited "the stress of the upcoming presidential election" in his decision.

The county election board accepted Mr. Quillen's resignation Friday, less than three weeks before the election. He is a Republican, so the county Republican Party in the key presidential battleground state will recommend his successor.

The county had experienced delays in getting absentee ballots to voters, but the board chairman says that played no part in Mr. Quillen's departure.

SECRET SERVICE

Two sailors to be punished in sex scandal, AP reports

A senior military official says the U.S. expects to charge two Navy sailors in connection with the prostitution scandal that engulfed U.S. Secret Service and military members preparing for a presidential visit to Colombia earlier this year.

The official says the two sailors will be charged with hiring a prostitute and dereliction of duty for drinking within eight hours of the time they had to report for duty.

Of the dozen military members initially implicated, seven Army soldiers and two Marines received administrative punishments for what was described as misconduct, and one Air Force member was cleared. Three of the soldiers declined the administrative punishments and have requested courts-martial.

MEDIA

San Diego newspaper barons trumpet conservative causes

SAN DIEGO — The new media barons of America's eighth-largest city are upfront about wanting to use their newspaper to promote their agenda of downtown development and politically conservative causes — and they are making their points in a brash, bare-knuckle style.

Douglas Manchester and his partner John Lynch gave their 143-year-old newspaper a new slogan ("The World's Greatest Country & America's Finest City"), ran a front-page editorial that declared their plan to reshape the city's downtown waterfront was their highest priority, and forecast doom if President Obama wins re-election.

Mr. Manchester, who became wealthy building hotels during the dawn of San Diego's downtown renaissance and insists on being called "Papa Doug," bought The San Diego Union-Tribune last year and its most serious competitor, the North County Times, this month. As he and Mr. Lynch eye expansion to Los Angeles and other major cities, they are frank about seeking to use their new platforms to advance their agenda — and they think they can make a profit while they're at it.

Mr. Lynch calls the editorial viewpoint pro-family, pro-military and pro-America and says "anybody who isn't shouldn't be living here."

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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