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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Politics

Steve Brown

Chicago, IL

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Kirk Re-Explains His Explanation

June 2, 2010 - 11:23 AM | by: Steve Brown

Illinois Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk, forced to explain his military record, now has a new explanation about how he was informed that he’s been claiming the wrong naval service award for years.

The flap began with a Washington Post story (which the paper says began at the urging of the campaign of Kirk’s Democratic opponent Alexi Giannoulias).

The story detailed how Kirk, a US Navy Reserve intelligence analyst, had for years erroneously claimed to have won intelligence officer of the year in 1998.

Kirk DID win an award. It was the Rufus Taylor award given to his unit stationed in Aviano, Italy. Kirk commanded that unit.

The Post story prompted a flurry of media questions for Kirk on how he could have made such a mistake.

Kirk has repeatedly explained that he misstated which award he had won. The North Shore Republican also points out his staff discovered the error BEFORE the Post story came out and changed the award citation on Kirk’s congressional and campaign websites on Thursday.

In an interview Tuesday, I asked Kirk if did he get a tip the Post story was about to break.

“We didn’t,” answered Kirk.

“There’s constant chatter during the campaign about rumors regarding my opponent and me and you’re always checking up on stuff that you hear about us and our opponent.”

Kirk continued, “I have a very good staff and they said ‘Boss, the title of this award was different than what’s in the bio’. So I said, ‘We’ve gotta change that.’ ”

Except that the US Navy says different.

Late Tuesday, a spokesman confirmed to Fox News that the Navy did inform Kirk that information about him was being released to the media, including the Washington Post. (That was on Thursday, the day Kirk’s websites were corrected.)

“That usually is the courtesy we provide all representatives if we are talking to the press about them, said Cmdr. Danny Hernandez.

So, Kirk seems to have gotten it wrong, again.

Kirk campaign spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski explains the series of events now this way:

“Even though this issue is very distinct from developments concerning Dick Blumenthal’s military record, the news out of Connecticut resulted in an internal review of Mark Kirk’s military record and his biographical information in advance of any contact from any entity outside the campaign.

“While this review was ongoing, Mr. Kirk was contacted by Navy personnel. During the review process, Congressman Kirk’s staff identified an inconsistency and, in a voluntary and transparent manner, the congressman corrected the record immediately.”

And there you have it…an explanation on the revision of how Rep. Kirk discovered the long-running error in his resume.

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