Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk derided Democratic U.S Rep. Tammy Duckworth during their debate, saying he'd forgotten her "parents came all of the way from Thailand to serve George Washington" after she spoke of her family's history of military service. I am a daughter of the American Revolution.
"I've bled for this nation", she continued.
Kirk repeatedly called Duckworth too partisan and said he anxious "that she will go to war with the 54 Republicans" in the Senate. But I still want to be there in the Senate when the drums of war sound, because people are quick to sound the drums of war, and I want to be there to say, 'This is what it costs. "Let's make sure the American people understand what we are engaging in".
No one, including the debate moderator, quite knew how to react. Critics immediately branded the comment as "racist" and distasteful.
Duckworth herself served as a US Army helicopter pilot in the Iraq war, losing both her legs and severely injuring her right arm when the helicopter she was piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in 2004.
Duckworth was born in Thailand, and her mother is Thai, but her father, an American, served in the Marine Corps and traced his family's ancestry to the Revolutionary War. Last year, during the funding fight over the Department of Homeland Security, he said Republicans should build coffins outside of Democratic offices if there were a terrorist attack and tell them they were "responsible for these dead Americans".
Firefighters recovering from Portland explosion
About 20 minutes later, a "significant explosion" happened from inside the building at about 9:39 a.m., according to Chatman. Nicknamed "Trendy Third", the area is packed with street-level boutique shops and restaurants, with luxury apartments above.
Duckworth responded on Twitter with an indisputable message. "He's called her a war hero in his commercials and he commends her family's service", Artl said. But that's not what this debate was about.
Experts consider Kirk a first-term senator, one of the most vulnerable in Congress, and call Duckworth a strong challenger.
But at that point, the damage was already done.
"My past misstatements of my record have been small and selfish and I only hurt myself, I didn't hurt veterans like my opponent", Kirk said. In 2010 he accepted responsibility misstatements about his Navy Reserve career, including that he served in the Gulf War, that he once commanded the Pentagon war room and that he came under fire while flying intelligence missions over Iraq.
This month, Obama appeared at a fundraiser for Duckworth and recorded a radio ad noting how she worked through college with the help of loans and grants and highlighting her father's job as a factory worker.