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Déjà vu all over again for Kirk and military service?

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2016

* Just what this US Senate campaign needed, a 2010 acid flashback

Sen. Mark Kirk’s campaign falsely asserted on its website that the Illinois Republican was a veteran of the Iraq war, a misstatement that comes six years after exaggerations over his military record nearly cost him his state’s Senate seat.

The Republican, now battling for a second term in a tight race in Illinois, stayed in the United States during the Iraq War when he served in the Navy Reserves. But on a public webpage on his official campaign website touting his record on veterans’ issues, Kirk was listed as a “veteran of the Iraq war.”

While Kirk campaign officials said it was a staff error, the issue resembles the controversy that nearly caused his 2010 Senate campaign to implode. Moreover, Kirk is now running for reelection against Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a military veteran who lost both of her legs during combat in Iraq. […]

Kirk campaign officials said the webpage was not meant to be made public, saying that it was supposed to be a private site while edits were being made to the page.

Campaign officials said a third-party vendor had drafted the language that they said had not been vetted or reviewed by the senator’s staff. The language, they acknowledged, was inaccurate, saying it would be changed when the campaign began a more direct push to court military veterans.

Google’s cached version dates back to September 15th. The Internet Archives Wayback Machine’s most recently crawled version of the page which made the false claim is yesterday at 11:28.

* Here’s a screen cap CNN posted of the site before it was put behind a firewall

* And in case you don’t remember, Kirk was sharply criticized in 2010 for an earlier claim on his official congressional website that he was “the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.” And that wasn’t the only problems he had…

* GOP Senate candidate Kirk overstated military award

* Kirk apologizes, acknowledges more errors in military resume

* Kirk’s try to dodge blame for false claims

There’s lots more, but you get the idea.

Kirk needed to avoid any repeat of that goofiness at all costs, so whether it was an honest mistake or not, CNN has now glommed on and others may follow.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    With CNN as the source, this is a huge gift for the Duckworth campaign. The TV ad practically writes itself and will leave Team Kirk trying to explain away another gaffe about his military record.

    And remember, when you’re explaining, you’re losing.

  2. - illini97 - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:14 am:

    Another unforced error. This race has been a real train wreck.

  3. - Curious - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:22 am:

    Can someone please make this race go away?

  4. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:22 am:

    Of course any politician is going to try to get however much mileage they can out of their own military record but in this case, no matter what his role really was, Duckworth will always have the upper hand. Don’t walk into that fight, pick other issues to try to outshine.

  5. - walker - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:24 am:

    Interesting that RebootIllinois has taken on Politifacts Illinois, and one of their first fact checks was about Kirk’s misstatements about his military service. Wasn’t good for Kirk.

    Will be tough to support the Rauner/Kirk team if facts get in the way.

  6. - The Captain - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:32 am:

    So many self-inflicted wounds. Why do you keep doing this to yourself?

  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:48 am:

    How is such a “staff error” possible, six years later? It doesn’t make sense.

    Memo to Kirk staff: As much as you wish you could, you can’t match Duckworth on service records. That should be obvious. Don’t even try. You’re not running for president of the American Legion, anway.

    With your obviously limited money, run desperately to the middle on guns, choice, gay mariage, Lake Michigan, Garland, Trump and immigration.

    Then, perhaps, you have a chance among Suburban Women vs. your suburban-woman opponent in a presidential year.

    The right wing has nowhere else to go if they want to keep Kirk’s highly reliable when-it-counts partisan vote in a Senate GOP majority.

  8. - Responsa - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    Oh man. The 2016 IL senate campaigns by both major candidates must surely hold the unofficial record for having the most idiotic unforced errors in a single race. In this case a “third party” vendor’s work not properly overseen or vetted by staff when it involves a known past hot button issue? Pathetic.

    The staffs of both Duckworth and Kirk seem to be in a bizarre race to see who can sabotage their own candidate the most. Voters deserve two better choices than we have in this contest.

  9. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:58 am:

    I’m a veteran who served during the first Gulf War, but I was not deployed into combat. I’ve never told anybody that I’m a veteran of the Gulf War. In fact, I make it clear when people ask that while I served at that time, I didn’t see any combat. Any veteran will tell you that the Combat Action Ribbon is a highly respected decoration for a reason. People who didn’t go to war dont claim to have gone to war. Simple. This was no mistake. This is another example of Mark Kirk overstating his military experience. It must kill him that Tammy is an actual combat veteran, a purple heart recipient, and an actual veteran of war. When it comes to military service, she is the real deal.

  10. - Steve Polite - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    I am by no means a Kirk supporter. With that said, an individual who serves in the military during a war is considered a veteran of that war whether or not they were in combat zones. Case in point, my father-in-law was a veteran of the Korean War even though he served stateside during the war. On the other hand claiming you’re involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom when you weren’t; that’s truly bad form.

  11. - Steve Polite - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    Anon makes a valid point also. Being in combat as opposed to not being in combat is a major distinction.

  12. - Dr. Van Nostren - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 11:07 am:

    When will Sen. Kirk stop stealing valor?

  13. - Phil - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 11:13 am:

    @ Steve Polite - I disagree with your characterization of your FIL’s service during the Korean War making him a veteran of that war. My father - now deceased - served on the front lines during that war as a forward artillery observer. He earned the right to be considered a veteran of that war. Don’t think the same can be said of your FIL.

  14. - Touré's Latte - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 11:41 am:


  15. - pundent - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 11:52 am:

    I think we need to cut Kirk a little slack here. In his defense this website wasn’t intended for public consumption at this point. He wasn’t putting inaccurate information out there, he was merely experimenting with putting inaccurate information out there.

  16. - Clark - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    If this race was determined by who had the better military record, Duckworth wins hands down. Unfortunately, that’s not what this bizarre race is about.

  17. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 12:12 pm:

    A staff error? God forbid Lyin’ Mark ever face any accountability for his outright falsehoods.

    Lyin’ Leslie and Lyin’ Mark, two peas in a disastrous pod.

  18. - Chicago_Downstater - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 1:31 pm:

    This is entire race is like something out of a Shakespearean comedy…or at least I hope it’s a comedy.

  19. - A guy - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 1:36 pm:

    These guys just can’t get out of their own way. Wow.

  20. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 1:40 pm:

    @ Steve Polite

    My deceased father served during the Korean conflict. He was stateside, and never told anyone he was a veteran of that war. His explanation of his service was Korean War-ERA Army vet.

  21. - Terrible Towel - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 2:18 pm:

    Man oh man. It does actually look like the site was prematurely launched. I believe the Kirk crew on this one. Why would they intentionally repeat such a monumental mistake?

  22. - Grandpa - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 4:10 pm:

    Kirk knew he did not hold the same status as real combat veterans, that is why he has tried and lied so hard to make us think he was. My father was a WWII Army vet who fought in France and Germany, he saw real action. Even though he was awarded the Bronze Star, he was the most proud of his Combat Infantryman’s Badge, in his day that showed you were really in it.

  23. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 4:10 pm:

    “I’m a veteran who served during the first Gulf War, but I was not deployed into combat. I’ve never told anybody that I’m a veteran of the Gulf War. In fact, I make it clear when people ask that while I served at that time, I didn’t see any combat.”


    – MrJM

  24. - Roscoe Tom - Wednesday, Sep 21, 16 @ 5:03 pm:

    The “wannabe warrior” just can’t quit trying to B.S. the people of Illinois.

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