A contrite Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) apologized for his "misstatements" about his military service and the awards he earned during his Navy career in an interview Friday with the Chicago Sun-Times.
Kirk, the Republican Senate nominee in Illinois, called the paper to solicit the interview to clarify the record about this service. He has been under fire by Democrats who say he exaggerated his military career for political gain.
"First of all, I want to apologize for misstatements made by me and my campaign," the congressman said.
Kirks said there was a "casualness" with which he spoke about his military service. "If it gave the impression that my military record was larger than it was, I apologize," he said. "I simply misremembered it wrong."
Kirk said he supplied the paper with his official Navy records.
Asked if he got "carried away" when speaking about his service – which was how Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal (D) explained his "misspoken" words about his service during the Vietnam War – Kirk admitted that was possible. "That emotion is part of me as well as everyone else," he said.