Democrats to Rep. Mark: Now Who's Un-American?
During the Bush era, it was Republicans who often hurled charges of un-American sentiments at their Democratic rivals. Now the tables have turned, and Democrats are hammering Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) for a comment he made on a recent trip to China.
In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Kirk said he told Chinese officials "the budget numbers that the U.S. Government has put forward should not be believed." He went on to say that Congress will wind up spending even more. (Here's a link to a video of the speech put on YouTube by Talking Points Memo.)
Democratic operatives aren't letting this one go. They're fixated on Kirk's declaration that the U.S. budget numbers "should not be believed." In other words, Democrats charge, Kirk is calling his own country a liar.
"After helping get us into this current economic crisis by supporting President Bush's failed economic policies, Congressman Mark Kirk went to China and told Chinese officials that the American government was not to be trusted," says Ryan Rudominer, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Congressman Kirk's questioning of America while representing our government in China is incredibly irresponsible and endangers the American economy."
We asked Congressman Kirk if he really meant that America cannot be trusted, as Democrats are charging. Without directly answering the question, here is how Kirk's spokesman, Eric Elk, replied:
"Congressman Kirk said what American and Chinese readers see daily in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. As China lent more and more to the U.S., its leaders are getting used to watching Congress spend much more than expected. What is changing is China's willingness to keep lending. The Congressman is very concerned about the government's spending and growing deficit.
We know that Standard & Poors and Fitch rating agencies have informed the British government that their spending and debt have jeopardized their AAA rating. Loss of a. AAA rating would push mortgage interest rates up. The congressman is working to ensure the United States does not suffer this fate family savings are founded on the soundness of the U.S. dollar. Since World War I, the dollar served as the world's reserve currency, insulating Americans against inflation and the volatility of foreign currency markets."
Kirk, who announced earlier this month that he and his wife of eight years, Kimberly Ann Vertolli, are divorcing, is a prime target of Democrats in the next election cycle. The congressman has hinted he may run for either governor of Illinois in 2010 or for the Senate seat currently held by Roland Burris.
Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a potential future rival of Kirk who has already declared his candidacy for the Senate seat Burris now holds, is also attacking Kirk as un-American.
"In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Mark Kirk is essentially telling China, which holds more U.S. debt than any nation on earth, not to trust the American government, and by extension, the American people," Giannoulias said in a statement. "This puts the full faith and credit of the United States at risk and threatens to permanently wreak havoc on the credit markets that are essential to our recovery and our economic future."
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