Kirk apologizes again for 'mistakes' about his record

Illinois Senate candidate Mark Kirk (R) again apologized for misstatements about his military service record and said he welcomed "honest debate" about his past.

"I've made mistakes when characterizing certain aspects of my accomplishments and experiences. I apologize for my mistakes, and I pledge to correct any errors," Kirk said in his prepared remarks. "I am not perfect, and I was careless. I will do better and make sure this never happens again."

Kirk addressed a morning news conference in suburban Chicago after weeks of avoiding the press. 

It was only his second meeting with reporters since a scandal erupted at the end of May over discrepancies in accounts of his military service. Kirk had, in fact, literally been running from the press: He left a speech to the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago via the kitchen last week. Some observers dubbed it his "Peter Cottontail moment."

He had earlier apologized in a June 4 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board.

On Tuesday he said he was open to debating his Democratic opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, about his service record.

"I welcome an honest debate about my vision and service to Illinois, and I'm happy to compare my record in the military and in the Congress," he said. "Going forward, I will present my official record of service to compare to my opponent's. I will be mindful of my imperfection, remain humble, and the kind of public servant you deserve."

Kirk also promised to address major policy issues during a "series of speeches" over the summer.