Kirk breaks his silence, too

KIRK BREAKS HIS SILENCE, TOO…. Yesterday, Nevada’s Sharron Angle finally agreed to talk to a reporter about her positions on issues, but she wasn’t the only one finally prepared to stop hiding.

Illinois’ Mark Kirk, the Republican Senate candidate who’s been caught telling a disturbing number of falsehoods, hasn’t spoken to the media in nearly a month. Last week, after a speech, he literally ran through a hotel kitchen to evade journalists.

Yesterday, Kirk tried to put the ordeal behind him, and get back to attacking his opponent.

A month to the day after the first allegations surfaced about embellishments in his military resume, Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk (R) held a press conference in Chicago designed to re-start a Senate campaign that has gone badly off track.

“I was not thinking,” said Kirk at the Chicago presser when asked about various misstatements in his military background including that he was once named the Navy’s intelligence officer of the year. (He wasn’t.)

“This was a carelessness that did not reflect well upon me and this is a high office,” said Kirk, according to the Chicago Sun Times. “Going forward, you have to speak with great precision and detail.”

Kirk’s political motives in calling the press conference are fairly transparent: end the story once and for all and, in so doing, put the spotlight in the race back on state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic nominee.

Look, as strategies go, a vague mea culpa may impress some in the media. It may even help Kirk get past his self-generated mess (the next time a reporter asks about his falsehoods, he’ll just say he “already held a press conference to discuss this, so let’s move on”). But it’s hard to imagine anyone seriously finding the “carelessness” excuse persuasive. An error or two is mildly embarrassing, but easily forgivable. Mark Kirk, however, lied repeatedly about everything from his military service to having been a nursery-school teacher.

That’s not an example of being careless; that’s an example of someone with an allergy to the truth.

What’s more, Kirk didn’t just invite reporters to ask questions, he packed the room with a “Hallelujah chorus” of 100 supporters who “heckled reporters and shouted ‘move on’ when reporters pressed Kirk about his numerous mistakes.” If Kirk was confident he could defend his record, would this really have been necessary?