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Kirk, Giannoulias Slap Fight On "Meet The Press"

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 11, 2010 1:00PM

Senate candidates Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk kicked off their debate series on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday. Host David Gregory apparently spent some time boning up on Illinois politics, hammering Congressman "Maybe I misrepresented my military record a little bit" and State Treasurer "I didn't know I was loaning money to mobsters and I'm sorry for losing money on your childrens' Bright Start accounts" on the ethics issues that have dogged the both of them for months. Ethics issues that Sun-Times Washington correspondent Lynn Sweet said in the prelude to the debate gave the impression of Illinois voters having to choose between "a serial embellisher and a mob banker."

Kirk reiterated that he had he learned "a painful and humbling lesson" once he was caught lying about his military record. Giannoulias, who wore a pout on his face the entire debate that indicated he'd rather be anywhere but on "MTP," gave non-answer answers to Gregory's inquiries about Broadway Bank's loans to reputed crime figures. "I did not know the extent of their activity," Giannoulias replied. When the focus of the debate shifted to issues in Washington, Giannoulias hammered away at Kirk's claims that he was a fiscal hawk, noting that Kirk voted for every Bush-era tax cut and budget that added trillions to the national debt. Kirk, meanwhile, noted Giannoulias's interview with the Tribune editorial board where he said he couldn't think of a program to cut in response to the board's questions on where in the federal budget Giannoulias would start cutting spending.

Giannoulias and Kirk have two more scheduled debates before the general election.