Every day until November, the people of Illinois can expect mudslinging by the Democrats and Republicans running for office. The Senate race, however, has been particularly brutal.
For the second time in one week, Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk addressed the media on Tuesday, and brought up Democrat Alexi Giannoulias' recently released tax returns. Giannoulias' returns showed that he paid no taxes on his $119,000 state treasurer salary because he lost millions when his family bank collapsed. Aside from criticizing Giannoulias on the matter, Kirk also said Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady should have paid taxes, even though his business lost money in 2009 as well.
"I think that if you are depending on a salary paid by taxpayers, you ought to pay tax," Kirk said, adding that "the only difference between Brady and Giannoulias is that the Giannoulias family transferred this tremendous $300 million dollar bill to the FDIC, and Treasurer Giannoulias wants to raise our taxes," the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Tax battles aside, reporters used Tuesday's conference to ask Kirk more about embellishing his military record. Last week, Kirk said he "wasn't thinking" when he stretched the truth regarding his military service, and apparently he wanted that news conference to be the last regarding his "misstatements."
The Sun-Times reports that Kirk was "asked several times" in Tuesday about a statement he made to the paper earlier this year:
Kirk declined to discuss another claim he made of getting shot at while on active duty in the Naval reserves.
Earlier this year Kirk told the Sun-Times, "Last year, I was with a Dutch armor unit in Kandahar, getting shot at and being calm, cool and collected. We each had this kind of Dutch candy called 'drop.' I went through about 3000 calories getting what they call 'nervous in the service.'"
But Tuesday, when asked several times at his news conference if he stood by that assertion, Kirk would only repeat that from now on he would say nothing beyond what's in his fitness reports when it comes to his war record.
This follows Kirk getting national notoriety for having to admit he did not actually know if he was shot at flying over Kosovo and Iraq.
"That claim is absolutely untenable," Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax blog wrote Wednesday. "He's no longer going to answer questions about his service record? And all he will do is point to his fitness reports? Not enough..."
The Giannoulias campaign issued a statement on the matter Wednesday, saying that the Kandahar claim joins ten other "embellishments, fabrications and outright lies about his military record."
Reporters pressed Kirk on the matter, one of them asking "So anything you've said in the past, we should just disregard?"
Kirk's response? Pretty much. "As I stated before in the speech..." he replied.
Kirk hoped that releasing his Navy fitness reports would satisfy the media's curiosity about his record, but, as Miller reports, "officer fitness reports do not represent Kirk's full military record and he knows it."
WATCH the awkward exchange here: