The NRSC--the GOP Senate campaign operation--acting on behalf of Illinois Senate candidate Rep. Mark Kirk--shot back at Democrat Alexi Giannoulias after my story came out Tuesday morning outlining the new line of Giannoulias attack: going after Kirk for still claiming in 2003 that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
The NRSC in their release ( full statement below, at the click) raises the point that many Democrats also believed the claims that WMD was in Iraq--a justification for the U.S. invasion.
The quotes they use are from 2002. The issue for the Giannoulias camp is that by June of 2003 questions were being raised by Senate Republicans about whether the U.S. acted on faulty intelligence.
Giannoulias, at his press conference Tuesday morning, raised the matter of Kirk speaking from the House floor on June 5, 2003 that he knew with "moral certitude" that Iraq had WMD. Kirk, said Giannoulias used his position as an intelligence officer in the Navy reserves and "falsely implied" he had information about WMD.
"And that's a record he has to defend," Giannoulias said.
below, from NRSC....
Giannoulias Desperately, Hypocritically Attacks Kirk's Military Expertise In Attempt To Distract Voters From His Own Reckless Record
NRSC: Will Giannoulias Denounce General Clark, Other Democrats' Statements About Threat Of Saddam Hussein To National Security?
WASHINGTON - As failed mob banker Alexi Giannoulias (D-IL) fails to capture momentum in the race for the U.S. Senate this November, he's attempting to buoy his flawed candidacy by desperately questioning U.S. Representative Mark Kirk's (R-IL) military expertise after Kirk honorably served in our nation's military.
The Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet reports this morning that, "Wounded Iraq war vet Tammy Duckworth will campaign today for Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias, whose newest battle plan is to put increased scrutiny on GOP rival Mark Kirk over statements he made about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction -- even as Senate Republicans worried about faulty U.S. intelligence."
Amazingly, Giannoulias was silent on this issue last week when he touted his endorsement from retired four-star General Wesley Clark, who warned in 2002 that:
"There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities... If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we."
Clark's warnings were shared by numerous national Democrat leaders, including former President Bill Clinton, then-Senator and current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (D-NY), former Vice President Al Gore (D-TN), U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), and current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), among others.
"Illinois voters deserve to know: Will Alexi Giannoulias condemn Wes Clark, Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and other Democrat leaders who agreed with Mark Kirk that Saddam Hussein posed a dangerous threat to our nation's security? Or is this simply another desperate attempt from Alexi Giannoulias to distract from his own reckless record of loaning millions of dollars to known criminals and driving Illinois' college savings program into the ground as the state's failed Treasurer?" asked National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Press Secretary Amber Marchand. "Voters can see through Giannoulias' hypocrisy just like they can see through his flawed record of experience, which is why they will elect Mark Kirk to the Senate this November."
WESLEY CLARK: "There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat." (House Armed Serviced Committee Hearing, 9/26/02)
· CLARK: "Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001" (House Armed Serviced Committee Hearing, 9/26/02)
· CLARK: "[H]e is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we." (House Armed Serviced Committee Hearing, 9/26/02)
BILL CLINTON: "[T]he community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists . . . . If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow . . . ." (Text of Clinton Statement on Iraq, Associated Press, 02/17/98)
HILLARY CLINTON: "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." (Senator Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 10/10/02)
AL GORE: "[I]raq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." (Text Of Remarks By Former Vice President Al Gore At The Commonwealth Club, 9/23/02)
JOHN KERRY: "I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." ("Kerry, With Cautious Voice, Supports Iraq War Resolution," Associated Press, 10/9/02)
· KERRY: "The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation." (Speech on Iraq War Resolution, 10/9/02)
· KERRY: "[W]e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. . . . And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it is not new. It has been with us since the end of the Persian Gulf War." (Speech to Georgetown University, 01/23/03)
NANCY PELOSI: "As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." (Statement On U.S. Led Military Strike Against Iraq, Office of Nancy Pelosi, 12/16/98)
# # #
Paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee