TONIGHT AFTER HERALDING PRIMARY DEBATES IN 2000 CAMPAIGN
Kirk Has Yet To Appear At A Single Republican Debate Or Forum Since Announcing Run For Senate
Chicago Daily Herald In 1999: Kirk Heralded The Importance Of Debates, Challenged His GOP Opponents To Partake In Them
Tonight, the Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate will gather in Chicago for an important debate before the primary next month - but one candidate will not be on stage with the rest. Congressman Mark Kirk, who has not appeared at a single Republican debate or forum since announcing his run for Senate in July, has decided to skip the debate all together. Kirk, who has many questions to answer due to his numerous campaign flip-flops, hypocrisies, and distortions, continues to do Illinois Republicans a disservice by refusing to compare his record to the other candidates in the public arena. Even more incredulous is that Kirk heralded the importance of primary debates during his first run for Congress. In 1999, Kirk challenged his Republican primary opponents to debate in every township in the district. Now that he's running for Senate, he's changed his tune and is refusing to debate his opponents.
"The flip-flops just keep piling up for Mark Kirk, who seems utterly incapable of taking a position and sticking with it," said Kathleen Strand, Senior Advisor to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "After heralding the importance of debates during his first run for Congress, Kirk is now ducking them left and right. If Kirk doesn't have the courage to stand up and defend his record before a Republican audience, how can he possibly be trusted to be a strong advocate for Illinois in Washington?"
This is not the first time Kirk has flip-flopped positions or shown hypocrisy on an issue. After voting against President Obama's stimulus package, Kirk called for stimulus money to be used to fund new hybrid engines for public buses in his district. Kirk was one of the only Republicans to vote for a cap and trade bill in the House of Representatives in June, citing national security reasons. However, after announcing a run for the Senate and facing heat from the right, Kirk did a complete back flip and declared he was now against the cap and trade bill he voted on just months ago and would vote against it when it came up again. With Illinois facing record high unemployment, Kirk decided to skip a crucial vote on extending unemployment benefits and has still not disclosed where he was and why he skipped the vote. Kirk used to be pro-choice, but recently voted for a pro-life amendment to the House health care bill, which caused backlash from NARAL. Kirk was dumped by several prominent environmental groups, including the League of Conservation Voters, after flip-flopping on his stance on a pollution tax. Finally, after initially praising Sarah Palin's pick to be Vice-President, Kirk backtracked during his tough re-election campaign in 2008 and said he would have picked someone differently. Now, as a Senate candidate, Kirk has been scrambling to get her endorsement.
2000 Campaign: Kirk Challenged His Republican Primary Opponents to Debate in Every Township in the District. In 1999, Kirk heralded the importance of debates, even challenging his Republican opponents to a debate in every township in the 10th Congressional District. From the Daily Herald: "Kirk issued the first challenges of the campaign Monday, proposing a $ 300,000 campaign spending limit, asking that Republicans not criticize one another in the primary and requesting GOP debates in every township in the district. 'I think it will be a tremendous tonic to the candidates,' Kirk said, 'because people in Libertyville and Winthrop Harbor and Deerfield can often differ in their views.'" [Chicago Daily Herald, 12/14/99]
2000 Campaign: Kirk Participated in Numerous Republican Candidate Forums and Debates. On March 1, 2000 all ELEVEN Republicans running for the 10th District Congressional seat. debated. From the Sun-Times: "The Republicans have appeared at numerous candidate forums, but Wednesday's town hall meeting on WBEZ-FM (91.5) was the only one scheduled to be broadcast." [Chicago Sun Times, 3/02/00]