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Kirk Q and A at July 6, 2010 press conference. Video. Giannoulias slams Kirk for ducking new questions on military record

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below, Giannoulias release...



Apparently fictitious claim to have been shot at in a Kandahar convoy joins at least 10 other embellishments, fabrications and outright lies about his military record

CHICAGO - At just the second press event he's held since ending his month-long media blackout in the face of serious questions about a decade-long pattern of embellishments and lies about his military record - and after pledging such misstatements wouldn't happen again - Congressman Mark Kirk dared to go on offense yesterday. The result was predictable - predictably uncomfortable, as Kirk was captured on video unable to explain yet another mistruth about his military service.

Kirk was asked to explain the circumstances of his claim to the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board that he came under fire while riding in an armored convoy in Kandahar, a heretofore unpublished and unexamined claim that cannot be verified. Kirk dissembled for two minutes in the face of persistent questioning before acknowledging that the fitness reports he referred reporters to will not back up his story. Congressman Kirk, who once falsely claimed to have been shot at while part of a squadron that enforced a no-fly zone over Iraq, further refused to stop using photographs in his campaign that give the mistaken impression that he is a pilot.

Yesterday's sequence of events, where an offensive-minded Kirk was forced to retreat to a defensive position while questions persisted about his military service, raises an important question: How many more examples of Kirk's lies about his military service are out there?

VIDEO: Mark Kirk caught in another lie

REPORTER: You once told the Sun-Times, this was your quote: "Last year, I was with a Dutch armor unit in Kandahar, getting shot at." Can you tell me a little bit more about it- when did it happen, what were the circumstances?

KIRK: Well as I went through my speech last week, I've made mistakes in my military record. I apologize for them and going forward will make sure that never happens again. But the way I'll answer that is I released my fitness reports...The way I will go forward is I released my officer fitness reports for all 21 years of service in the Navy and will let the official record stand.

REPORTER: But you're not saying this was a mistake then are you?

KIRK: No but I would refer you all to the officer fitness reports.

REPORTER: They might not have that detail...

KIRK: For me, going forward I will speak through the voices of the commanding officers in the field that assessed my performance, and you will be able to have that if you don't already.

REPORTER: So that kind of goes as a non-response response?

KIRK: No, for me the officer fitness reports are the official record.

REPORTER: So anything you've said in the past, we should just disregard?

KIRK: No I'm saying that let's stand on my official record to the United States Navy.

REPORTER: So anything you've said before, if you've said it just forget about it?

KIRK: As I stated before in the speech...

REPORTER: Do you have a record that will show where the question came up?

KIRK: So the record talks about the...just go through the detail...and especially my officer fitness report from my Afghan service...

REPORTER: Do you think your campaign- are you going to stop using photos that imply you're a pilot? There are pictures of you sitting in a plane with pilot gear on. Are you guys going to stop using those or...

KIRK: They don't...there is no issue because there...on many aircraft you have aircrew, and often times, in fact most of the people on the squad- in my squadron that I served in are not pilots. There are three other people on the aircraft who flew along.

From the Chicago Tribune, 7/6

Also during Kirk's news conference, the congressman would not discuss the latest question about his military career, this time from a statement he made in a Sun-Times questionnaire that he was "shot at" while serving with a Dutch armor unit in Kandahar. Kirk did not answer directly whether that statement was accurate. Instead, he referred any questions about his career as a Navy reservist to his military fitness reports that he has made available. There is no mention in those reports of Kirk coming under fire during that time period. The Kandahar assertion echoes a similar problem Kirk has had regarding comments he's made about his military career. Last month, he said assertions he came under enemy fire while flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq in 2000 may not be true because there is no record of whether his aircraft was being fired upon.

From the Chicago Sun-Times, 7/6

Kirk declined to discuss another claim he made of getting shot at while on active duty in the Naval reserves. Earlier this year Kirk told the Sun-Times, "Last year, I was with a Dutch armor unit in Kandahar, getting shot at and being calm, cool and collected. We each had this kind of Dutch candy called 'drop.' I went through about 3000 calories getting what they call 'nervous in the service.'" But Tuesday, when asked several times at his news conference if he stood by that assertion, Kirk would only repeat that from now on he would say nothing beyond what's in his fitness reports when it comes to his war record. This follows Kirk getting national notoriety for having to admit he did not actually know if he was shot at flying over Kosovo and Iraq.

From the Capitol Fax Blog, 7/6

But Kirk repeatedly dodged a question about himself [...] I thought he was pledging to be Mr. Honesty these days?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 7, 2010 7:07 AM.

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