The hits keep on coming for Republican Illinois Senate hopeful Mark Kirk, who has now corrected a second misrepresentation of his military service record.
Last week, the Washington Post published an article revealing that Kirk did not personally receive an award for "Intelligence Officer of the Year," which he touted in both speeches and on his online biography (the bio was removed following the Post's investigation). Kirk's unit had actually received the Vice Admiral Rufus L. Taylor Award.
Since the story broke, more people have come forward skeptical of some other military claims Kirk has made, and on Wednesday, his campaign once again corrected the record--this time surrounding a claim that sounds awfully familiar. AP reports:
His campaign said Wednesday that in 2005, a reference on his official House website was changed. Kirk had said he was the only member of Congress to serve "in" Operation Iraqi Freedom. That was changed to "during."
The campaign said he served stateside and that his 2005 campaign website was worded correctly.
Kirk actually served stateside in the Navy reserves during the Iraq War, the Washington Post's Greg Sargent reports. Similarly, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate, has come under fire for saying he served in Vietnam when he actually served stateside. The Blumenthal flap prompted Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to draft a bill making it illegal to use false military service for personal gain.
Illinois newspapers ripped Kirk about the flap on Wednesday. From the Chicago Tribune:
This is not Kirk's finest moment. It reflects the hubris he shows from time to time. We'd like to hear the congressman acknowledge that the award listed on his bio was inflated, not "misidentified." We'd like to hear him say he's sorry. But no.
And, as Talking Points Memo reported Wednesday, the lies from Kirk's camp continue. When TPM asked Kirk whether he got a tip when the original Washington Post story was going to break, he told TPM reporter Steve Brown that he did not, crediting his staff for catching the error about his Navy award and removing it from his website promptly.
Turns out, that was not the case. TPM reports:
Late Tuesday, a spokesman confirmed to Fox News that the Navy did inform Kirk that information about him was being released to the media, including the Washington Post.
As several publications have pointed out, Kirk's real military service record is a stellar one--and his opponent in the Senate race Alexi Giannoulias has no military experience. So why exaggerate?
The Daily Herald editorial board asked Kirk to apologize to Illinois voters on Wednesday:
When you factor in other questions - how could he so repeatedly get wrong the name of an award for which he was supposedly so proud? - you cannot avoid other, less flattering conclusions.
Recognizing that, Kirk must apologize for having so misled voters - accidentally or otherwise. It is not unusual for business or community leaders caught in similar resume lapses to have to surrender their jobs.