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Kirk and Giannoulias Clash Over Personal, Policy Issues

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Kirk and Giannoulias Clash Over Personal, Policy Issues

Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias debate Tuesday night.

AP/file

The latest televised debate between Illinois’ candidates for the U.S. Senate once again turned confrontational over issues of personal responsibility.

The ABC 7 Chicago debate Tuesday evening began with questions about the negative tone of the campaign, and the attacks that’ve dominated it. That allowed the candidates another chance to go after each other.

Congressman Mark Kirk, a North Shore Republican criticized Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias for questionable loans given out by the bank founded by his family.

Giannoulias pushed Kirk on mis-statements the congressman has made about his military record.

GIANNOULIAS: The question, congressman is, why with this record would you not tell the truth, why would you make all this stuff up? Congressman, it’s a simple question, were you shot at or not?
KIRK: For the ultimate irony, that a man who spends most of his campaign for the Senate criticizing my military record, and yet he never served a day in uniform himself.
GIANNOULIAS: Were you shot at or not?

The candidates also clashed on issues of policy likely to come up in the Senate.

One of the most emotionally-charged pieces of immigration legislation, titled the DREAM Act, would let some immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children become citizens if they go to college or serve in the military. Giannoulias says he’d vote for the bill. Kirk says other legislation should pass first.

KIRK: This is not the time to do this. We have a decisive, bipartisan majority right now for border control.

The candidates also differ on the military’s ban on openly-gay service members. Kirk says he supports continuing the ban, warning of confusion in the military without a replacement policy. Giannoulias argues for quick action.

GIANNOULIAS: We have no business telling these people who want to die for this country that that’s unacceptable. I am for the immediate repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The other Senate candidates on the ballot - the Green Party’s LeAlan Jones and Mike Labno of the Libertarian Party - were not invited to the debate. The League of Women Voters, which organized the event, allows only candidates getting 10 percent or above in recent polls.

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