(CNN) - The Republican vying for President Barack Obama's former Senate seat admitted he has previously mischaracterized an aspect of his lengthy service in the United States Navy.
The admission Sunday came after Kirk's opponent in the divisive Senate race, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, raised questions with the Washington Post about the Intelligence Officer of the Year Award Kirk claimed to have received during his service in the Kosovo conflict 10 years ago.
In a post on his blog Sunday, Kirk said he and his staff discovered last week that they had inadvertently misidentified the award in his official biography and on other occasions. Kirk was instead issued the Rufus L. Taylor Intelligence Award – an honor Kirk said is as distinguished as that of Intelligence Officer of the Year.
The National Military Intelligence Association, a professional group, issued Kirk and each member of his unit the award for "exceptional achievements of an outstanding Naval Intelligence career professional."
"My corrected biography accurately shows I received the United States Navy Rufus L. Taylor Intelligence Award – as the leader of an ad-hoc intelligence effort supporting four EA-6B Prowler electronic attack squadrons as part of Operation Allied Force – instead of Intelligence Officer of the Year. I accepted the Taylor Intelligence Award (named after the head of Navy intelligence in World War II) as the leader of an intelligence section that I assembled and led. There is no hierarchy between these awards as the Taylor Intelligence Award is equally distinguished," Kirk said.
(CNN) - One of the two candidates in a Democratic party family feud that resulted in a rare Republican congressional victory in Hawaii says he's giving up his quest to return to the House of Representatives.
Former Rep. Ed Case announced Sunday that he's dropping his bid for the state's first congressional district, which the GOP captured in a special election nine days ago - the party's first win in a House or Senate election in Hawaii in nearly two decades.
"My heart tells me to stay in this fight, but my head says this has become the wrong fight," said Case, in an e-mail to supporters and in a statement on his campaign website.
National Democrats attempted, without success, to convince either Case or Hawaii State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa to drop out of the May 22 special election, held to fill the seat of former Rep. Neil Abercrombie, the longtime Democratic congressman who stepped down earlier this year to run for governor.
(CNN) - From a wreath-laying ceremony at Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery to a moment of silence at Major League Baseball games across the country, America on Monday stops and remembers the sacrifices of those who fell in military service to the country.
Vice President Joe Biden will take the place of President Barack Obama for the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington, the most prestigious military cemetery in the country, where many of the soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried.
Many veteran and conservative bloggers have taken issue with Obama's absence.
"On Monday, it's where the eyes of our entire nation will be focused," said Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "And unfortunately, the president and his family won't be there to stand with us."
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: Not rational to give up on offshore drilling, Vitter says
A Republican senator from the state so far the hardest hit by the Gulf oil spill said Sunday that the environmental catastrophe was not a reason to put a stop to all domestic offshore oil drilling. "By the same token, after every plane crash, you and I should both oppose plane travel," Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union. "I don't think that is rational." Vitter added that it was necessary to determine what went wrong in the sequence of events that led up to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20 which caused the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
CNN: White House admits effort to keep Sestak out of Senate race
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary last year as part of a failed administration effort to dissuade Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak from running for the U.S. Senate, according to a publicly released memorandum from the White House legal counsel's office. Top White House lawyer Robert Bauer conceded that "options for Executive Branch service were raised" for Sestak, but insisted that administration officials did not act improperly. He characterized the attempt to influence Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary - ultimately won by Sestak - as no different from political maneuvers by past administrations from both political parties. Key Republicans disagreed with Bauer's assessment. Several House GOP members sent a letter to the FBI Friday asking for an investigation.
Wall Street Journal: Primary Fight Alters Dynamic in Race vs. Reid
Republican Sue Lowden was expected to pose a stiff challenge to Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada this fall, in one of the nation's most closely watched Senate races. But Mr. Reid, facing a tide of unpopularity in his home state, began pounding Ms. Lowden in the past few months. Democratic Party volunteers have suited up in chicken costumes at her public events to draw attention to what became known as the "chickens for check-ups" gaffe, after Ms. Lowden suggested that people should barter for health care. The negative campaigning, along with a series of other missteps from the Lowden campaign, may have contributed to an erosion of support for a candidate the Republican establishment once had seen as its best hope for toppling Mr. Reid.
CNN: 'They should not have done this,' Dem says of DADT fast track
A leading Democratic voice on military affairs has criticized members of his own party for the hurried way in which congressional Democrats and the White House are pushing through the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have all stated their belief that the policy should be changed. In an effort to lay the groundwork to do away with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Gates and Mullen have commissioned a thorough survey of U.S. service members in order to ascertain how the force structure feels as a whole about having openly gay and lesbian members serving within their midst.
The Hill: Iowa Dems say Wall Street, mood against incumbents will help topple Grassley
Iowa Democrats are cautiously optimistic that simmering anger over the Wall Street financial bailout and voters’ anti-incumbent mood will help them defeat Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). “What I hear most is how angry people are about the Wall Street bailout,” Democratic Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin told The Hill. “They clearly see the connection between the fact that they, their family, their friends are unemployed and Wall Street. They know what happened here, Wall Street drove the economy off a cliff.” Conlin is one of three Democratic candidates vying to challenge Grassley in November. She’s expected to win the June 8 primary.