TODAY | November 22, 2012
>>> he once was a name to watch in congress, someone who was going places, perhaps above and beyond the house of representatives . but now, jesse jackson jr . is out of a job. kelly o'donnell has the latest. kelly , good morning.
>> good morning, willie. well, jesse jackson jr . has been under a cloud for months. a personal struggle with mental illness, complicated by the pressures of a very public life , and nagging questions that surface through ethics and criminal investigations. his decision to quit congress comes two weeks after he won a ninth full term and did so without even campaigning.
>> would you guys like coffee, by the way?
>> known simply as junior, the 47-year-old long carried both the blessings and burdens of a famous family name .
>> he is my father and my friend, i now present to you the reverend jesse jackson .
>> in better days, jackson jr. was routinely talked about as a future chicago mayor or u.s. senator making his slow and personal fall a source of major headlines.
>> with breaking news, the resignation of congressman jesse jackson jr ., he was once a political rising star .
>> and compassion from some chicago constituents.
>> it's sad. i don't think you want to see this happen to anybody. especially with his, you know, his health issues.
>> he thought he represented you guys well?
>> reasonably well. but if you're not able, you're not able.
>> reporter: last june, jackson disappeared from congress after a series of evolving, incomplete explanations for his absence, his office revealed he was hospitalized for bipolar disorder. wednesday, jackson sent a letter of resignation to house speaker john boehner while his chief of staff delivered copies in illinois.
>> can you tell us how he's doing?
>> he's doing good.
>> jackson wrote, my health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible in the house of representatives . but his deteriorated health is not the only factor. in his letter he does admit to mistakes. jackson has been in talks with federal prosecutors who are looking into whether he misused campaign funds to buy personal things, including an expensive watch. i am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alobe. alone. wednesday, jackson 's father called the resignation painful.
>> it's a moment for our family and we'll face the day tomorrow with prayer and we find support in so many people.
>> jackson 's lawyers say he is cooperating, but it could take months to resolve his legal issues. illinois officials are looking at options for when to hold a special election to fill the vacant seat. and in that letter, jackson added he prays to be remembered for what he did right. willie?
>> kelly o'donnell in washington this morning, thank you and happy thanksgiving to you, kelly .