October 27th, 2010
10:57 PM ET
12 years ago

Mobsters, crooks and bailouts, oh my!

(CNN) - Mobster and crook references aside, the Illinois Senate debate between Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk covered substantive policy issues, from their positions on the bank bailouts to the effectiveness of the stimulus bill.

The war in Afghanistan and the events leading up to the Iraq war were also a key issue in the debate, which was held at the Chicago Club in downtown Chicago.

Questioned on his vote for the Iraq war, Kirk, a five-term Congressman, criticized the way intelligence gathering was handled. On reports that Iraq was pursuing nuclear weapons, Kirk said, "I think that we were lied to in the end, by the deputy director of national intelligence absolutely." Questioned on the point, Kirk backtracked, saying the intelligence was wrong.

Giannoulias pounced on Kirk's answer, saying, "He actually convinced other members of Congress that he knew to a moral certitude" that the Iraq war was necessary.

Kirk and Giannoulias quibbled over the Troubled Asset Relief Program, more commonly known as the bank bailout. Kirk, a supporter, said he was "proud" to have voted for it; Giannoulias said he would have wanted greater oversight and would not have supported the bailout program as it was presented. Kirk used the moment to paint Giannoulias as "immature," emphasizing the need to recognize how important the legislation was even though there were drawbacks.

Kirk went on the offensive when it came to the stimulus program, criticizing the limits on project funding and the amount of debt incurred as a result of the bill. But Giannoulias hit back, calling Kirk's position "remarkable" for someone who "voted for every single one of the Bush budgets," which, Giannoulias said, "doubled our national debt."

But, policy discussions aside, some of the campaign bickering and personal jabs came out full force early in the debate.

Giannoulias had to fend off attacks on his family's bank, a theme Kirk has carried throughout the campaign. As in previous meetings, Kirk drew from his pocket a list of unsavory individuals to whom, he said, the bank gave loans.

But Giannoulias was prepared, taking from his pocket his own list of unsavory individuals - this one a compilation of people who admitted to corruption charges and have at some point donated to Kirk's election campaigns. Kirk defended himself saying any money from such individuals was returned.

The most recent polls of likely voters in Illinois indicate the race to win President Obama's old Senate seat is deadlocked.

Filed under: 2010 • Alexi Giannoulias • Illinois • issues • Mark Kirk
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    All of this has to stop! We need elecetion reform that calls out lies and distortions, does away with special interest ad buys and gets back to what this country stood for not that long ago.
    The answer to this is the Anti-Tea Party. They are fear and hate mongers. They maybe above average in education , but none of them have read an accurate fact in the past 30 years andhave never read The Constitution or The Bible. They rely on someone like Pat robertson or Glenn Beck to tell them what they say.

    October 28, 2010 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  2. Fed Up

    As they say in Illinois – vote early and vote often

    October 28, 2010 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  3. George of the jungle

    vote the repos out

    October 28, 2010 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  4. Sherri W.W.

    It may be that many people and parts of the country are acting so against their own interest right now,that we will see some of these candidates that have NO business NEAR Wash.D.C.,actually get in office.HOW anyone can vote to put Republicans in charge is beyond most reasonable peoples`imagination.However~in states that have Tea Party candidates~those states are being even MORE foolish&reckless!Andevidently it will take that to make folks see how bad they have been hijacked,in this election.States like NV&AK&CO~used to having long~time people in D.C. who"bring home the bacon"[in a good way]~will see what happens when their state has no clout!~In the meantime,lets try not to let THEM hurt the REST of us! We have VOICES TOO~USE THEM!

    October 28, 2010 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  5. juan villalobos

    i need my stimulas money too"

    October 28, 2010 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  6. willard bullock

    Im belived that is bullying games

    October 28, 2010 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  7. vwrtb_30

    Republican hypocrisy again and again and again...

    October 28, 2010 07:07 am at 7:07 am |