Mark Kirk in 2010 IL Senate Debates


On Principles & Values: Raised $6,000 from 12 U.S. citizen businessmen in China

Giannoulias accused Kirk of "economic treason" for raising money from US businessmen in China the day before a vote on overseas business, prompting Kirk to label his opponent "desperate and dishonorable."

Kirk's fundraiser was held not in China but via Internet video conferencing, and the event was scheduled long before Kirk's May 28 vote, his campaign said. The fundraiser with 12 citizens working in Beijing raised about $6,000.

Giannoulias refused to back away from his accusation tying Kirk's vote t the money. He said Kirk has put China's interest ahead of that of the US. "It can be called nothing other than an act of economic treason," said Giannoulias.

Kirk blasted the Democrat. "Alexi Giannoulias is running a desperate and dishonorable campaign," Kirk said in a statement. "I have worn our country's uniform for 21 years, and to accuse me of treason in any context is beyond the pale. Giannoulias is a desperate candidate who is now dishonoring the office he aspires to."

Source: Chicago Tribune coverage of 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 21, 2010

On Budget & Economy: No bailout for irresponsible decisions by state of Illinois

Q: To what extent is the Federal Government responsible, if at all, for bailing out virtually bankrupt states like Illinois?

KIRK: The economic situation for our state is terrible. And, of course, my opponent is the State Treasurer, who has presided over much of this. Unpaid bills by the State of Illinois have gone from $1 to $5 billion, according to the Chicago Tribune just this year. All three credit ratings have downgraded the State of Illinois debt. Recently, the State of Illinois even went hat in hand to European creditors and asked to borrow money. I don't think the Federal Government should further bailout such fiscal irresponsibility by the state. I think we should roll back much of the spending decisions made by Gov. Blagojevich, now a convicted felon. And return fiscal responsibility to the State of Illinois. Without someone bailing out even more irresponsible decisions led by the current team that runs the State of Illinois, including my opponent.

Source: ABC News transcript: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 19, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Proudly voted for TARP; but against stimulus funds

GIANNOULIAS: Congressman Kirk proudly said he voted twice for bailouts of the biggest Wall Street banks. But voted against the Recovery Act, which provides emergency stimulus and funding to states and municipalities that have been devastated.

KIRK: But it's interesting, my opponent just said, he criticized me for voting for the TARP program. And yet, during the Chicago Tribune endorsement session, after a painful to watch session, he admitted that he would have voted for it, as well. And yet, he criticizes me for that vote. Also in that session, the Tribune asked him, "Name one spending program or bill that you could identify." He couldn't name one. And they said, once again, "Painful to watch." Which I think is part of the reason why they endorsed me over my opponent for this office.

Source: ABC News transcript: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 19, 2010

On Environment: Stimulus should've funded Mississippi dams & O'Hare projects

Q: What different course of action would you have supported in 2009 to stimulate the economy?

KIRK: One of the tragedies of the stimulus was that it limited projects to shovel ready projects. Which means no big pay-off projects, which, for example, in Illinois would have been fully funding the O'Hare Modernization Project. Or a new lock and dam system for Mississippi River.

Q: You believe that should have been funded?

KIRK: If that was funded, we would have a long term economic payoff. Instead wha happened is, especially the House Appropriations Committee, which largely wrote most of the legislation, was told to spend nearly a trillion dollars. And take nearly every discarded social spending program off the table. Remember, every dollar by this Congress, 40% is borrowed. Most of it from abroad. We have to borrow $160 billion a week to make sure the Treasury doesn't run out of money. That is irresponsible in my view. And a growing chorus of people think that that is also completely unsustainable

Source: ABC News transcript: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 19, 2010

On Principles & Values: I've owned up to my mistakes; my opponent has not

Q: Let me confront the elephant in the room, the character issue. Congressman Kirk, what do you tell voters who wonder about a man who embellishes a resume?

KIRK: I misstated a part of my military record. It's a painful process. I learned a big lesson from that. I apologized to the people of Illinois. I then released all 21 years of my officer fitness report. Service in Afghanistan. Service in Allied Force. It's made me a better Congressman and advocate for veterans and men and women who wear the uniform. And for me, the national security of the United States has been a life work of mine.

Q: On your opponent's character issue, should voters wonder about someone whose bank makes loans to unsavory characters?

KIRK: Well, there is a big difference here. I made a mistake and I corrected it. I took ownership. But the difference between me and my opponent is he made a number of mistakes. I made mistakes. But I corrected them. And meanwhile, my opponent, says nothing is really his fault.

Source: ABC News transcript: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 19, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Obama has brought $43,000 debt to every American

Q: How would you define the change that has come to America under President Barack Obama?

GIANNOULIAS: I think he's done everything he can to help turn this economy around.

Q: [To Kirk]: How do you define the change Obama has brought to America?

KIRK: A tremendous amount of debt. While we did run deficits in the past, we now number our debt in trillions rather than in billions. And I think that represents a long-term danger, especially to the American dream. Every American born today owes $43,000 to the federal government the day she or he is born. And we are transferring a tremendous amount of debt to the new generation. Much of it owed to overseas creditors, who expect to be repaid by our children with interest.

Q: But as a Republican Member of Congress, do you really want to stand by your party's record on the debt, going back since you came to Congress?

KIRK: No. I've become very much of a fiscal hawk here, I forswore earmarks for my own Congressional District.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Corporations: Small business Bill of Rights: 10-point pro-growth agenda

Q: Since August 2009, unemployment has been at 9.5% or higher. That's 14 straight months. What does the federal government do at this point to spur job creation?

KIRK: First of all, we recognized that the stimulus has largely failed. Second, this Congress has been very, very viciously anti-business: new taxes, new regulations. We need senators and congressmen that will back up pro-growth agenda. For example, my small business Bill of Rights, ten new policies to help out small business. They can't afford a Washington lobbyist to go find stimulus money or a Washington lawyer to wade through the latest 1,000-page bill that Congressional leaders haven't even read.

Q: So tax cuts in your mind is really the job creation?

KIRK: Well, a pro-growth agenda like making sure we don't pass legislation to take away your right to a secret ballot in a union election. My opponent wants to take that right away called the Card Check Bill. I think that's a terrible idea.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Government Reform: Support a line item veto; cut spending across the board

Q: How should tax cuts be paid for?

GIANNOULIAS: This is a fundamental public policy difference between myself and Congressman Kirk. He said he's a fiscal hawk. Look, the Congressman has told some real whoppers during this campaign, but that may be the biggest one of all. He voted for every single one of the Bush budgets which doubled our national debt. He voted to increase his own pay six times, he voted for the bridge to nowhere twice, the list goes on and on. So, Congressman, saying you're a fiscal hawk doesn't necessarily make it true and your voting record proves that it's not true.

Q: The tax cuts are $700 billion they want to extend. Where are they going to get the money?

KIRK: We're going to get the money by spending reductions across the board, by cutting out whole programs and making sure that we have a new set of mechanisms. For example, the president has been rumored to be bringing forward a line item veto proposal. Republicans should support that.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Health Care: Repeal Obamacare, then offer a better alternative

Q: [To Kirk]: You have said that you would lead the charge to repeal health care reform. Is that still your position?

KIRK: That's right. We have to be the party of better. We just can't be the party of no. So we put together the Republican alternative which I introduced into Congress, 400 pages. It was not allowed for a debate, or even discussion or a vote. But it did three big things: first, the Medical Rights Act that says Congress should make no law interfering with the decisions you made with your doctor. Second, lawsuit reform which was completely skipped and needs to be in there. And third, Congress should defend your right to buy health insurance from any state in the union if you find the plan less expensive to cover your families.

Q: All right. But you will try to repeal it?

KIRK: Yes.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Homeland Security: No F-25 engine; no joint forces command

We have Congressional leaders that are not interested in spending restraint at all. I back spending restraint across the board. Like at the DOD: no second engine for the F-35 Fighter, closing down joint forces command, across the board reductions.

We should have a new Grace Commission put forward with base-closing powers, with just one up-or-down vote.

When you look at the state of the economy right now, you have to set a priority. And my top priority is the deficit of jobs and economic growth.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Principles & Values: Takes responsibility for carelessness about military record

Q: You hold the rank of commander. You served during the conflicts of Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Bosnia. But the Associated Press summarized it:
"Kirk's problems began with his frequent references to being named the Navy's intelligence officer of the year. Instead a slightly different award had gone to the intelligence unit that Kirk led, not to Kirk personally. That was followed by a long string of other errors and exaggerations. A letter from his office said he served in the first Gulf War, when he didn't. He has also referred to serving in the invasion of Iraq, although his duties kept him stateside."

KIRK: Well, I made mistakes with regard to my military misstatements. I was careless. And so I corrected the record.

Q: But, bottom line, did you say that you were once shot at when, in fact, you were not?

KIRK: Well, when you're flying over Iraq, usually the Iraqis opened up on us. But whether the squadron came under fire or not, it's very confusing.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Tax Reform: Ending Bush tax cuts may cause double-dip recession

Q: Do you think that the Bush-era tax cuts should be extended for all Americans?

KIRK: Congressional leaders want to hit the US economy with a $900 billion tax increase on Dec. 31. On top of the ten new taxes in the health care bill, on top of the taxe in financial regulation bill. The key danger here is will our policies increase the chance of a double-dip recession? Taking more money out of the private economy, I don't think it's the right way to go.

Q: Well, back in 2004, you were part of the Republican Main Street Partnership. As part of that group, you had a press release in which you said: "Tax cuts should only be extended temporarily.... We simply can't afford permanent and across-the-board extensions at this time". That's what you said then, when the debt was about 1/3 of what it was today. How could we afford to make permanent tax extensions now?

KIRK: Because especially in this climate, we have Congressional leaders that are not interested in spending restraint at all.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Principles & Values: Forced to apologize for exaggerating his biography

Mark Kirk, the Republican nominee, and Giannoulias have spent much of their campaign debating who is least trustworthy. Giannoulias has dealt with fallout from the April failure of his family's Broadway Bank, while Kirk was forced to apologize for exaggerating his biography.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek coverage of 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Illinois Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Illinois Senate Debates.
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Mark Kirk on other issues:
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Budget/Economy
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Foreign Policy
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Page last updated: Nov 01, 2010