Washington (CNN) – Less than twenty-four hours after his admission that he misrepresented his military record, the campaign of Senate hopeful Mark Kirk has released two ads that slam his Democratic opponent.
Kirk, the Republican nominee hoping to capture President Obama's old Senate seat, admitted during a news conference Tuesday that he had mischaracterized his military record.
"I am not perfect, and I was careless. I will do better and make sure this never happens again," Kirk said.
But now his campaign is striking back at Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat who earlier this year waged a public relations battle of his own following the failure of a bank owned by his family.
Updated 1:00 p.m.: Read the Giannoulias campaign response after the jump.
Washington (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden heads to Chicago Monday to lend a helping hand to a fellow Democrat hoping to keep President Barack Obama's old Senate seat in party hands.
Biden is the headliner at a fundraiser for Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic Senate nominee in Illinois. The Illinois state treasurer is facing off against Republican Rep. Mark Kirk for the seat now held by Democrat Roland Burris, who is not running for a full term this year. Burris was named by now-ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich to replace Obama, who stepped down from the seat following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.
Giannoulias has seen his bid for the Senate rocked by the controversy over his family's bank, which was taken over by federal regulators earlier this year.
Kirk has had is own problems in recent weeks. He's apologized for mischaracterizing portions of his 21-year military career, and the Pentagon confirms that the candidate was counseled by the military twice in the last two years for violating rules that bar members of the armed services from partisan political activities.
(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) – Illinois Republican Rep. Mark Kirk is out with a new television ad that both accuses his opponent of distracting voters and refers to embattled energy company BP.
Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois State Treasurer, will face off in November's midterm election in an effort to win the Senate seat once held by President Obama.
The 30-second spot says Giannoulias is trying to distract attention from the recent failure of the bank founded Giannoulias' family which was seized by the FDIC late last month.
Then the ad turns positive and focuses on Kirk's record. "Because of Kirk's record on stem cells and stopping British Petroleum's pollution of Lake Michigan, he's called 'independent' and 'effective,' the ad says.
Asked for a response to the new Kirk ad, the Giannoulias campaign said Kirk was not in touch with voters' concerns.
"Only someone as out of touch as Congressman Mark Kirk would say talking about jobs and the economy during a campaign is a distraction," Giannoulias campaign spokesman Matt McGrath told CNN.
(CNN) - This time the candidate will appear at the president's event.
Last month Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who's also the Democrat's senate candidate, didn't team up with Obama when the president was in her state for a speech on health care reform and a political fundraiser. Instead, Carnahan was in the nation's capitol.
Republicans pounced on Carnahan. Their claim: Carnahan was trying to keep her distance from the White House in what's shaping up to be a tough election year for Democrats.
Democrats dismissed that charge and said it was a scheduling conflict. Her campaign said she was attending to official state business as part of her job as secretary of state.
Wednesday Carnahan is scheduled to be with Obama when the president tours an ethanol plan in Macon, Missouri, as part of his "White House to Main Street" tour.
(CNN) - The battle for President Barack Obama's old Senate seat is heating up.
Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic nominee in the race, is up Monday with his first television commercial in the general election. The ad comes out as Giannoulias deals with the collapse last week of his family's bank.
In the 60 second commercial, which his campaign says will run statewide in Illinois, Giannoulias says his family's bank helped thousands of people over the years.
"I was very proud to be a part of it, and when I left, over four years ago, it was in good shape. But no one could have foreseen these problems," says Giannoulias in the ad.
Later in the commercial, the narrator criticizes the Republican nominee in the race, Rep. Mark Kirk.
"Mark Kirk doesn't get it. First he votes for the Bush policies that got us into this mess, including tax breaks that shipped jobs to China. Then Kirk has the nerve to vote against extending unemployment benefits, saying unemployment isn't a big issue," says the narrator.
Washington (CNN) – The bank owned by the family of Illinois Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias was closed by regulators on Friday, a development likely to complicate Democratic efforts to keep President Obama's old Senate seat from falling to Republicans in November.
Broadway Bank's failure was the result of an "unraveling of the real estate market," Giannoulias said. Economic conditions have "taken a gigantic toll on homeowners, businesses, community banks, and families throughout our country," he added.
Giannoulias, a former employee of the bank, said Broadway Bank "was one of the best performing in Illinois" when he left to run for state treasurer in 2005.
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Mark Kirk, the Illinois Republican seeking President Obama's old Senate seat, raised $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2010, and has more than $3 million in the bank, his campaign said Wednesday.
"Illinois voters have a clear choice in this election to change direction, create jobs and restore integrity to the State of Illinois," the five-term congressman said in a written statement.
Kirk is set to face Democratic nominee and Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in November. Current Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, a Democrat, will not seek a full term for the seat he was appointed to after Obama became president.
The Giannoulias campaign has not released its own fundraising totals for the first quarter, but did respond to the Kirk figures.
Washington (CNN) - Senior White House adviser David Axelrod brought the White House bully pulpit to bear Wednesday on Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican hoping to capture Barack Obama's old Senate seat in November.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Axelrod criticized Kirk for telling a group of Republicans last week that if elected, he will, "lead the effort to repeal this [health care] bill."
"As an Illinoisan, I have to say, I find his remarks disappointing," Axelrod told the Sun-Times. "Given the great challenges America, and families across Illinois face today, the last thing we need is another Republican senator in Washington who is more focused on tearing down the President than he is on solving problems."
This isn't the first time that the White House has lent its support to Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer that will face Kirk in November.
Washington (CNN) - The Democrat who hopes to keep President Obama's old Senate seat blue was at the White House on Tuesday.
Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois State Treasurer and Senate candidate, met with administration officials while he was in Washington, D.C. for a Greek Independence Day celebration.
"My meetings today at the White House have been very productive," Giannoulias said in a statement. "I want to help the president change the broken system here in Washington."
Giannoulias will face Republican Rep. Mark Kirk in November, and has in recent weeks faced a series of questions about his role in the management of his family's bank.
White House Press Secretary offered measured support for Giannoulias when asked about the visit.