Kirk’s problems get a little worse

KIRK’S PROBLEMS GET A LITTLE WORSE…. Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk ran into trouble recently when a variety of claims about his military service — in speeches, in correspondence, and in written materials — were proven to be untrue. Making matters worse for the Illinois Republican, the story isn’t quite done yet.

As of about a week ago, I think the list was up to eight separate incidents: Kirk (1) falsely claimed he served “in” Operation Iraqi Freedom; (2) falsely claimed to “command the war room in the Pentagon”; (3) falsely claimed to have won the U.S. Navy’s Intelligence Officer of the Year award; (4) falsely claimed to have been shot at by the Iraqi Air Defense network; (5) falsely claimed to be a veteran of Desert Storm; (6) falsely claimed to be the only lawmaker to serve during Operation Iraqi Freedom; (7) falsely claimed to have been shot at in Kosovo; and (8) falsely claimed to have been shot at in Kandahar.

This week, we have a new one for the list.

When Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk says he repeatedly deployed to Afghanistan with the Navy, he’s referring to two-week training missions as part of his annual reservist requirements.

After acknowledging a series of misstatements that embellished his Navy service, Kirk is being challenged over his use of the military term “deployment,” and this could be yet another opportunity for critics to parse his words in what has recently become a resume-bashing battle with Democratic Senate opponent Alexi Giannoulias.

Deployment can mean more than one thing in the military, but it is often used to describe service members going off to war for an extended time.

Navy Cmdr. Danny Hernandez said there is a difference between annual training and being deployed, which can sometimes last more than a year.

“I would think that would be (considered) two weeks of annual training,” Hernandez, a Navy spokesman, said of Kirk’s stints. “A deployment is a deployment and annual training is annual training.”

The official response from the Kirk campaign is that the candidate’s definition of “deploy” is different from that of the U.S. military. As political spinning goes, this needs some work.

Making matters slightly worse, the Pentagon said this week that Kirk “twice violated military policy by participating in political activities while on active duty — once in 2008 and once in 2009.”

Remember when Mark Kirk’s selling point as a candidate was his military service?

For more on all of these controversies, Nitpicker is the guy to rely on. Indeed, it’s worth emphasizing that he’s broken many of these Kirk-related incidents that were later picked up by major outlets.