It’s one of the most highly contested Senate races, but rarely have we seen the candidates together. Today, the gloves came off when Senator Mark Kirk and his challenger Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth met Tribune Editorial Board.
Challenger Democrat Tammy Duckworth went after Mark Kirk for his controversial statements.
“We can’t have a United State Senator who continues to say these irresponsible things,” she said. “He implied that they wanted to get nuclear weapons to Iran. He used the dog whistle by calling the President Barack “Hussein” Obama.”
The Republican incumbent Kirk acknowledged verbal gaffes.
“ I would say that I have been too quick with a turn of phrase. If I have been too quick a turn of phrase, that’s just my bad,” he said.
Back in August, Duckworth called Kirk “unhinged.” Today, she was asked if that was a reference to the Senator’s recovery from a 2012 stroke.
“ The doctor’s note that he put out recently from his physician has made it clear that he is responsible for everything that he says,” she said.
Asked about gun violence, the candidates showed differences. Congresswoman Duckworth called for investment in areas plagued by crime.
“We need jobs on the South Side of Chicago and we need a way to get to the jobs,” Duckworth said. “Maybe you can’t get a business to put a factory in the middle of a crime plagued area but you can certainly work hard to provide incentives.”
Senator Kirk pushed for federal law enforcement to backup Chicago Police in a partnership like the one that took down the gangster Al Capone.
“ They would have said you could never take on Al Capone. Luckily in 1928, the CPD and federal government took him out,” he said. “I think with federal backup using the Capone-model that’s what we ought to do.”
With just over a month left before Election Day, expect the back and forth to heat up. If Democrats keep the White House and pick up four seats, control of the U.S. Senate would change hands. They think they’ve got a real shot in Illinois.