Front and Center

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So I'm watching the parade of Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas filing though the Capitol just before the inauguration.

As they make their way down the steps toward their seats near the podium, who do I see inching forward, his hand outstretched looking for a shake? Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.!

I'm watching him giving hugs and kisses to all the big shots--the guy's getting more camera time than Tom Brokaw. As far as I can tell, he's the only member of the Illinois congressional delegation anywhere near the podium--former congressman Rahm Emanuel doesn't count because he's up there as Obama's chief of staff.

I call Jackson's cell phone eager to find out how he managed to get such a good spot. But the old number's been routed to his congressional office, which is closed for the day.

I sit back to watch President Obama's speech, and who do I see over the president's shoulder? Roland Burris. As in the junior senator from Illinois. Like Jackson, he managed to finagle his way into a prime spot on the center stage for this historic occasion.

There were no Burris hugs on camera.

Only Governor Blagojevich was missing.

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