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Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi arrive at federal court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. | Susan Walsh/AP file photo

Sneed: Sandi Jackson prepares children for Jesse Jr.'s return to D.C.

SHARE Sneed: Sandi Jackson prepares children for Jesse Jr.'s return to D.C.
SHARE Sneed: Sandi Jackson prepares children for Jesse Jr.'s return to D.C.

The Jackson story . . .

Sneed is told Sandi Jackson, who is due to serve prison time later this year following the prison exit Thursday of her husband, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., prepared her children for their father’s homecoming during a spring break vacation last week.

OPINION

“Sandi and the kids were all due back from vacation Tuesday, which they used as a time to prepare for the adjustment and joy of having him back — even if it was a release into a halfway house near their home in Washington, D.C.,” a source close to the family said.

“They were anxious, but overjoyed about Jesse’s release,” he added.

• Upshot: Jackson is due to be picked up from his minimum-security federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama, on Thursday, by his wife, two children and parents, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline.

Sandi Jackson pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns related to the campaign contribution scam that sent her husband to prison.

Rumors have persisted of hopes that President Barack Obama might be inclined to pardon Sandi. It’s not known when she will begin to serve her sentence.

“Sandi’s prepared — but then again how prepared can you be to separate yourself from your two children, Jessica and ‘Tre,’ ” Jesse Jackson III, the source said. “She is very close to them and a great mother. Very protective.”

• Backshot: Although their sentences were staggered so one parent could care for their two young children, Jesse Jackson Jr., who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, is being released from prison early because he completed a substance-abuse treatment program that shaved time from his sentence. Jackson is due to be released from halfway house confinement on Sept. 20.

P.S. While Jesse Jr. was in prison, there was a new birth in the Jackson family. His brother, Yusef, and his wife had a baby a few weeks ago.

Split ’em . . .

Sneed hears Valerie Jarrett and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad, who had become President Obama’s frequent golfing companion when the Obamas were on vacation with Jarrett, are no longer an item. Splitsville.

Gal pals . . .

Sneed hears first lady Michelle Obama, a lawyer, and actor George Clooney’s wife, Amal Alamuddin Clooney, a British barrister, have become buddies.

• An interesting connection: Amal just joined Columbia Law School in New York as a visiting professor. First daughter Malia has applied to Columbia University.

The Axe man . . .

A Chicago connection: Shailagh Murray, the latest occupant of David Axelrod’s strategist seat at the White House, is a graduate of Northwestern University.

• Axelrod tells Sneed: “Love her. One of the smartest people I know. She was a great reporter. I met her when she was assigned to the Obama campaign in 2008. She was always among the most incisive media folks on the trail.”

Then he shared a Shailagh vignette, which he mentioned in his new book, “Believer.”

“I got some bad poll numbers the night before the Indiana primary in 2008 and was in a deep funk, convinced we were going to lose badly.

“Shailagh saw me in the hotel bar and asked what was wrong. I shared the numbers off the record. She had been traveling with us and had a better feel than I did — or at least more distance.

“ ‘You’re nuts,’ ” she told me. “ ‘You guys aren’t down by 12 here. You might even win.’

“The next day, we ran a dead heat with Hillary.”

The name game . . .

Rahm vs. Chuy! The mayoral race has become a first-name game.

• The kicker: Although “Jesus” is “Chuy” Garcia’s actual first name, it’s interesting to note that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s original last name was “Auerbach.”

• Backshot: Family lore has it that the name was changed after their uncle — Emanuel Auerbach — was killed and the family changed its last name as a tribute to him.

Sneedlings . . .

Happy wedding anniversary to attorney Joel Brodsky and his wife, Elizabeth . . . Thursday’s birthdays: Diana Ross, 71; Nancy Pelosi, 75; Steven Tyler, 67; Kenny Chesney, 47; Leslie Mann, 43.

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