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Alexi Giannoulias, Mark Kirk Debate On 'Meet The Press'

10/11/2010 08:43 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The two candidates for Illinois' U.S. Senate seat brought out well-worn personal attacks and highlighted stark policy differences in their first debate on Sunday.

On NBC's "Meet The Press," Alexi Giannoulias accused his Republican opponent Mark Kirk of lying about his military record and tied Kirk to failed Bush economic policies. Meanwhile, Kirk accused Giannoulias of lending money to mob figures at his family's bank and supporting President Obama's unpopular recovery programs.

Giannoulias stood by the stimulus packages, saying it "is a reality" that they prevented a second Great Depression.

Kirk, on the other hand, called spiraling government debt a "long-term danger to the American dream." Kirk also called himself a deficit hawk--but Giannoulias was quick to point out many Kirk-supported policies that do not support that statement.

Each man had to face his demons. Giannoulias defended his role at Broadway Bank, an institution run by his family that collapsed this year. He has been accused of lending money to figures connected with the mob while serving as chief loan officer there; on Sunday, he said he wasn't aware of the extent of the men's criminal pasts. Meanwhile, Kirk said he "learned a very painful and humbling lesson" after revelations that he had repeatedly lied about a number of aspects of his military career.

Watch Giannoulias slam Kirk's economic policies here:

Watch the full debate here:

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