Going in to this fall's Senate race in Illinois, one major advantage for Republican Mark Kirk was his laudable record of military service.
But that same fact became a liability for Kirk, when it was revealed that he had embellished or just plain lied about many aspects of that record.
Now his opponent, Democratic state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, has received a prominent military endorsement of his own, from retired four-star general Wesley Clark.
Clark, a presidential candidate in the 2004 Democratic primary, might mention Kirk's military record while he stumps with Giannoulias here in Illinois. But the nominal purpose of his trip is to go after Kirk for reversing his position on environmental legislation, praising Giannoulias for supporting renewable energy and fighting pollution.
"Investing in a clean energy economy will not only be good for our environment, but it will also strengthen our national security and jumpstart our economy," Clark said in a statement. "Congressman Kirk agreed with me when he voted for the energy bill last year, but now he stands starkly against it. That's not leadership, and it's not the type of forward-thinking advocate that voters should send to the U.S. Senate."
Kirk made national news in 2009 when, as a congressman from the moderate 10th District in Chicago's northern suburbs, he voted for the House's cap-and-trade bill. The bill would have forced companies to pay a price for excessive carbon emissions, had it not died in the Senate.
During the run-up to the Senate primary, however, Kirk changed his tune, announcing that he now opposes the cap-and-trade legislation.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Clark will appear with Giannoulias at an electric car re-charging station to promote Giannoulias's commitment to reducing America's dependence on foreign oil.
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