Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Fresh From Afghanistan, Kirk Defends the President

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The Illinois Senator says it's the duty of Congress to respect the office of the president.

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Walsh: I'm Not Obama's Prop

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Senator Mark Kirk, a Naval reserve intelligence officer, just finished a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The military man determined on his trip to the war-torn region that it's time to stop sending aid to Pakistan, because the government there is too closely aligned the Haqqani terror network.

He took a moment during a speech at the Union League Club to defend President Obama's decision to draw down troops there.

Kirk also defended the president against a certain Illinois Congressman who's vowed not to attend the president's Thursday jobs speech before a joint session of Congress.

"I will be in the chamber, because you have to respect the office," Kirk said. "Even if you campaigned against the current office holder, you respect the office and the role of the joint session is in the Constitution."

He didn't name names, but Kirk was talking about Congressman Joe Walsh (R -8th) who said he wouldn't attend the speech before the joint session of Congress because he wouldn't allow President Obama to use him as a prop in a political game.

Kirk said he would be listening carefully to the president's speech and looking for ways to come together in a bi-partisan effort to create jobs.

As for the snafu in which Speaker of the House John Boehner asked the president to move the speech from Wednesday night to Thursday night, Kirk offered a pedantic reasoning for why it happened but said it wouldn't matter in the end.

"It'll be forgotten," he said. "The details of the president's speech are far more important."

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