WASHINGTON -- Rep. Mark Kirk, the GOP U.S. Senate nominee who admitted he embellished his military record in recent weeks, has also, it turns out, exaggerated his experience as a teacher.
Meanwhile, Democratic Senate contender Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer, got a boost from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who made four appearances Thursday with Giannoulias in Chicago, three of them at fund-raisers.
In Thursday developments in the fight for the Senate seat once held by President Obama, a New York Times story recounted how Kirk has talked about his experience as a "former nursery school and middle school teacher" over the last decade.
However, Kirk was only a part-time nursery school teacher while at Cornell University, the New York Times said. Kirsten Kukowski, a Kirk campaign spokeswoman, said Kirk worked as a nursery school teacher while in college; the New York Times could not independently confirm where Kirk taught.
While a graduate student at the London School of Economics, Kirk taught European history and English at the Milestone School in London, but the stints were not that long: from April to June 1982 and from September 1982 to June 1983, Kukowski said, noting it was a school year.
"Congressman Kirk's formative experiences in the classroom stayed with him," Kukowski said.
Giannoulias and Duncan, both basketball players, shot hoops with kids at the Fosco Park Community Center, 1312 S. Racine, a stop where Giannoulias commented about Kirk.
"Congressman Kirk, he's even admitted that he hasn't told the truth, and these are serious questions that keep on popping up. And it begs the question of what else in his professional career as a congressman he is not telling the truth about," Giannoulias said.
Kirk's campaign tried to keep the spotlight on Giannoulias' vulnerabilities, especially the failure of his family-owned Broadway Bank.
Kirk's team used DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett to vouch for him at a news conference outside the Thompson Center in the Loop.
"We will not let the voters of Illinois get fooled again," Birkett said.