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Illinois Senate Race Goes Loony Tunes

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Illinois Senate Race Goes Loony Tunes
Illinois Senate Race Goes Loony Tunes

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In the most compelling Illinois race this cycle, Mark and Alexi Giannoulias look like they'll battle it out for President Obama's old senate seat.

On Monday morning Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, compared the Illinois Senate race between Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias to the fight scene at the end of Rocky II.

 “You’ve got the press beating the heck out of your opponent, beating the heck out of you,” Scarborough said this morning. “We compare it to the Rocky where they both got knocked down. You wonder which will get to his feet first.”

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On Monday's show, Giannoulias was the only candidate who got to throw a punch. Scarborough invited the Democrat to take his “best shot” at Kirk.

 “I think even Mark Kirk has admitted that he lied about his military record,” Giannoulias said. “He lied about this phantom teaching career. He lied about a drowning accident. Some days I don’t know if I’m running against the Jon Lovitz character from Saturday Night Live, the pathological liar, or Commander McBragg.”

 “Do you think he’s a pathological liar?” Scarborough asked. “Do you think he knows he’s lying?”

“I’m not a psychiatrist,” Giannoulias said. “Bigger picture, we talked about Washington, D.C., being broken. He’s been a part of the problem for 20 years. Unless we talk seriously about campaign finance reform, about getting special interest money out of Washington, about filibuster reform … things won’t get better.”

Of course, since Giannoulias was the only one in the ring, he had to take a punch, too. Scarborough flat-out asked, “Are you a banker to the mob?”

“When a bank decided whether to approve a loan or deny a loan they look at the credit-worthiness of the borrower,” Giannoulias responded.“Is that a no?” Scarborough asked.

“Yes,” Giannoulias said. "That is correct."

Giannoulias also denied his opponent’s charge that he helped run Broadway Bank into the ground.

“Congressman Kirk has never worked in the private sector,” Giannoulias said. “He doesn’t understand the importance of access to capital, doesn’t understand what it’s like to hire or fire someone.”
 
Scarborough promised that “we’ll be having Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk on Morning Joe in the near future.”

Kirk didn't wait for an appearance on Morning Joe to join in the hyperbolic criticisms. His campaign released this gem after the appearance:

“After misleading voters about loans to crime figures and felons like Tony Rezko and a former associate of Saddam Hussein, Alexi Giannoulias will do or say anything to distract voters from his past business relationships.  Voters deserve a thoughtful, independent leader like Mark Kirk who will oppose higher taxes, cut wasteful spending and put Illinois families first.”

We’re looking forward to hearing more if and when he talks with Joe.  We’re also looking forward to Election Day, when we find out which one of these candidates is Rocky Balboa, and which one is Apollo Creed.

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