Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mark Kirk Addresses Tough Questions At Press Conference, Vows to Correct Mistakes and Move Forward

Congressman Mark Kirk faced down the Chicago news media today to answer what many of them felt were issues that Kirk had not yet adequately addressed concerning his military service and other accomplishments. After reading some fairly brief prepared remarks, Kirk took questions from the press for about 45 minutes.

"I’ve made mistakes when characterizing certain aspects of my accomplishments and experiences," he stated in his prepared remarks. "I apologize for my mistakes and I pledge to correct any errors. I am not perfect, and I was careless. I will do better and make sure this never happens again.

In probably his best line of the day, Kirk took a dig at his opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, and stated that "Going forward, I will present my official record of service to compare to my opponents," which drew a big round of applause and laughs at Alexi's expense, given that Alexi never served a day in the armed forces.

Kirk summed up the difference between he and Alexi in that his platform is to "tax less, spend less, create jobs, protect the environment, and clean up corruption." On the other hand, Alexi wants to "raise taxes, spend more and maintain the status quo of leadership in Illinois."

Kirk answered questions from reporters on a wide range of topics, including health care, Iran sanctions, Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, DADT, and Afghanistan. Kirk also returned again to his statements on his military record and repeated that he was sorry for his mistakes and pledged to address any other errors, if any come up.

Kirk was asked about Q2 fundraising reports, since the second quarter closes tomorrow and reports are due days thereafter. Kirk declined to give any specific figures, noting that money is still flowing in, but that he expects the Q2 totals to be "robust."

I think Kirk has the right strategy on his military record. Stick to the facts, stick to the official record, and every time from now until November that it comes up, the comparison against Alexi's lack of credentials and accomplishment, especially in this area, will be all that we need.

Here are Kirk's prepared remarks, as released by his campaign:

Congressman Mark Kirk
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
June 29, 2010

Good morning – thank you all for coming today.

The problems our country and our state confront in the summer of 2010 are among the most difficult and urgent as any we faced in our lifetimes. This year’s election will determine whether or not we chart a new course toward restoring the confidence in the ability of our government to meet America’s challenges.

The United States is mired in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Economic growth is anemic.

Unemployment hovers around ten percent nationally and even higher in Illinois. The numbers increase when you include people who gave up hope of ever finding a job and withdrew from the workforce.

Consumer confidence remains low. Foreign competition to every sector of our economy grows stronger each day. While traditional sources of jobs and income are disappearing, we find tougher competition in new industries from countries that only a decade or two ago struggled to feed themselves.

Our government continues to overspend and pile up debt at a terrifying rate that could ultimately damage our economy with inflation, high interest rates and a weakened dollar. Generations of Americans will struggle to pay the costs of our extravagance.

Washington searches for new taxes to offset its reckless spending rather than curtail its waste. Many of the new tax increases fall disproportionately on small business employers, the primary job creators of our economy - depriving them of the means to grow and hire more people.

We need to change our ways:

The way we budget;

The way we spend;

How much and who we tax;

The way we structure and run our spending programs.

We need to change the way we regulate businesses to make sure that reckless and dishonest business practices do not destroy the savings of innocent Americans. Most importantly, we should not stick the American taxpayer with another bill for other people’s greed.

Congress needs to make it easier for well-run, honest employers to grow and competing in the global economy.

We need to plug the hole in the Gulf, clean up the mess and assess liability.

Moving forward, we should rebuild a bipartisan American energy independence policy based on domestic sources, nuclear power, and permanent incentives for wind, solar, hydro and other renewable energy.

America is fighting wars in two countries. We made great progress in Iraq. But we still face challenges to ensure the Iraqi government is capable of defending its democracy as the United States withdraws.

In Afghanistan, I support President Obama’s new strategy to prevent the return of the Taliban and al Qaeda. But great challenges remain as we work with the Afghan government, our NATO allies and Pakistan to empower a new Afghan solution that results in a country that poses no future danger to the United Stares or her allies.

Terrorists around the world remain intent on killing Americans, disrupting our economy, and forcing us to live in fear. The Government of Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, is determined to develop nuclear weapons to threaten our interests, our allies and the stability of the Middle East.

Numerous other security and economic challenges, including the European debt crisis and North Korea, are growing in number and complexity in almost every corner of the world.

To address them effectively, we need to continue rethinking, restructuring and reforming how we organize and equip our military, how we collect and analyze intelligence, how we employ our diplomacy, and how to make the most effective use of our soft power.

Over the course of the summer, I will give a series of speeches discussing these challenges in greater detail, and the policies that would most effectively master them.

But to make progress on all these fronts, we need to elect to office Americans who put the country’s needs ahead of personal or partisan interests.

We need men and women who have the experience, maturity, judgment and determination to work creatively. For a country as innovative, resourceful and industrious as America, we should join together in good faith to implement solutions to our problems. We are tired of unproductive partisan bickering and time-wasting political gamesmanship.

We need public officeholders who don’t excuse, ignore or take personal advantage of corruption. The people of Illinois have seen more than their share of political corruption.

Elected officials from both parties went to jail for violating the public trust. Corruption has been, but doesn’t have to be, part of our culture. Change is nowhere more urgent than right here, in our state.

When you’ve spent most of your adult life, as I have, in the service of the American people, you can see the daunting challenges confronting us as an opportunity to make a real difference in the future of this blessed and wonderful country. You get excited about the opportunity to use your experience to give your best service in the cause of our country’s greatness.

I am excited about that opportunity, and very grateful for it.

Now, I’ve made mistakes when characterizing certain aspects of my accomplishments and experiences. I apologize for my mistakes and I pledge to correct any errors. I am not perfect, and I was careless. I will do better and make sure this never happens again.

My service to the American people means a great deal to me, particularly my service in the U.S. military. To all my fellow veterans here today, thank you for your friendship and your strong support.

I welcome an honest debate about my vision and service to Illinois and I’m happy to compare my record in the military and in the Congress.

Going forward, I will present my official record of service to compare to my opponent’s. I will be mindful of my imperfection, remain humble, and the kind of public servant you deserve.

I will give you my clear views on the issues and plans to solve our problems. You can then make the best decision about whom to support in this election.

I place my trust in your judgment and consider it a great privilege to stand subject to it.

This election will come down to a clear choice between two people and two very different directions of where to take our country and our state.

I think my views are more in line with the voters of Illinois. I think we should tax less, spend less, create jobs, protect our environment and clean up corruption.

My opponent wants to raise taxes, spend more and maintain the status quo of the current leadership in Illinois.

In short, I think we need to send a fiscal conservative, social moderate, independent-minded servant to the Senate – and I am that candidate.

Thank you for being here today and thank you for all that you do to make this country great.



Rob_N said...

Time to "move on" as your fellow Kirk fans say.

Anonymous said...

There you go again with that "mistakes" b.s. It's not a mistake when you intentionally inflate your resume. That's called "lying," which is what Kirk is also doing by claiming that he will spend less money than Giannoulias.

In general, the Republican Party spends every bit as much as the Democratic Party, and Kirk is no exception.

Anonymous said...

Kirk served, Alexi didn't - 'nuff said

Blue Wind said...

Desperate attempt to cover the lies of a decade. Underestimating the intelligence of the voters. Kirk is no longer electable after so many lies and distortions. In fact, he has a become a major liability for the republican party.

Rob_N said...

Anon 7:08pm, Why did Kirk lie about serving?

And if he's willing to stoop so low as to lie about the Navy and preschoolers what else will he lie to us about?

'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Mark was brilliant in 2000-2004 then after Iraq went south and pup arrived he basically went into Eric Elk's secret hiding place-which is too bad because he has nothing to hide. In the speech we see some of the muscular confidence that most candidates of his stature that run for the US senate have. Most people like him on paper, but come away underwhelmed in that he lacks the backslapping and charisma that you have to have to be a good politician and that separates the principal from the staffer.

I know why he's been in undisclosed locations, but it's time to pull the gloves off, leave the hide and go seek act and start running publicly.

Alexi can't win this race, he's too destroyed and too underwhelming but Mark can lose this race, and the more he gets out there and goes on offense like he did today, the better he'll be.


Anonymous said...

Blue Wind aggravates me. He/she never adds anything to the discussion. Can we vote him/her off?

Anonymous said...

With Kukowski swinging punches
at the Department of Defense
and Andy Martin constantly sending letters asking for information about Kirk, I wonder how disappointed people really are right now that he's pushed all of his weekends to after the election.

I hope there is no story to come out about any of that after the general election. I don't think anyone would be able to stomach facing Kirk again if something like that happens.

Anonymous said...

mark has new ads, absolutely nails it...



Anonymous said...

Foklaes, coulen't agree more about Eric Elk's secret hiding place. Maybe he's the one to face the voters and tell us why he keeps MSK hidden so much. MSK was terrific at the speech/press conference yesterday. I don't need charisma -- I just want someone who is smart and cares about this country and its people and that definitely is Mark Kirk. We'll keep working hard for him as he is the best candidate for the job.

Anonymous said...

RobN, one might suggest that you READ the Fitness Reports provided to the media that detail every bit of Mark Kirk's Military Record. You damn right he served, does serve, and does so with distinction. And you? Nothing more than a blowhard with nasty things to say without one bit of truth. Get lost. We all know who you are and now it's clear what you are.

Anonymous said...

the story dragged on for more than a month and is now part of the narrative of the campaign because they went to bunker thinking the media wouldn't care. In a presidential campaign or a congressional campaign where there's too much and too little coverage, you can get away with that. Not now.

The other thing is that people know mark on the north shore, he could campaign this way against dan because his name id was near 100. That's not the case throughout the rest of the state. The terrain favors him this year-the campaign is about the economy so social conservatives and their issues like the gun decision are mostly sidelined so its not like he's going to get asked every 2 minutes about his nra votes.

the speech was underwhelming and the more I've watched it-very bad. A rehash of issues in the world, nothing inspiring or energizing. He could do better- a lot better.


Anonymous said...

More bad calls on the IL media. The only thing they seem not to care about right now are the "hysterics" coming from the Kirk campaign in their attempts to manipulate the voters.

You can argue about what "opened the door" to suddenly put Kirk and his campaign under scrutiny after ten years. But the fact remains that the door is open and they're now doing their job.