It was easy enough to feel at least a little badly for Mark Kirk, the incumbent U.S. Senator from Illinois whose seat is among the most vulnerable the GOP must defend this year, when the National Republican Senatorial Committee attacked his opponent, a legless veteran, for “not standing up for veterans”. There is, however, a limit to any sympathy, especially when the embattled Republican manages to do it to himself:
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.
This is important: Neither is this the first time Mr. Kirk’s name has circulated in this context during this cycle. Apparently, the Illinois Republican and his team just … what? Couldn’t resist the opportunity to try the lie again? Can’t be expected, in this hectic modern world, to guard against known exposure?
Image note: U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), circa 2016, in uncredited photo via campaign website.
Raju, Manu. “Mark Kirk campaign site falsely calls senator ‘veteran’ of Iraq war”. CNN. 21 September 2016.
Yilek, Caitlin. “GOP tweet accuses double amputee Dem of ‘not standing up for veterans'”. The Hill. 8 March 2016.