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posted: 2/9/2012 5:30 AM

Krishnamoorthi, Duckworth criticize parts of defense bill

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  • Eighth District Democratic Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth.

      Eighth District Democratic Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth.
    Gilbert Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Eighth District Democratic Congressional candidate Raja Krishnamoorthi speaks to the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

      Eighth District Democratic Congressional candidate Raja Krishnamoorthi speaks to the Daily Herald Editorial Board.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Video: 8th District-Krishnamoorthi

  • Video: 8th District-Duckworth

and Projects Writer

The two Democrats making bids in the 8th Congressional District primary each say there are specific instances where they buck the party line.

Tammy Duckworth, 43, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, 38, both of Hoffman Estates, both say President Barack Obama should not have signed the National Defense Authorization Act in its current form.

Krishnamoorthi also said Democrats have been too critical of businesses over the past year.

The two spoke during separate meetings with the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

Duckworth, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former member of the Obama administration, said she is "disappointed" in provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act pertaining to the military's authority to detain people, including U.S. citizens, suspected of terrorism.

Duckworth said she opposes the act for allowing for the suspension of due process and habeas corpus, "as well as other rights guaranteed by the 5th and 6th Amendments ... for terror suspects apprehended on U.S. soil."

"My entire adult life has been spent in service, in protection of the Constitution," the former helicopter pilot said.

Obama also expressed strong misgivings about those portions of the sweeping act but signed it after some revisions Dec. 31, two days before military funding was set to expire.

Despite her former Obama administration position as assistant secretary of veterans affairs, Duckworth said, "at the end of the day I'm going to speak my mind and protect what I believe in," even if that involves disagreeing with the commander-in-chief.

Krishnamoorthi, a Hoffman Estates lawyer, engineer and laboratory president, also disagrees with the National Defense Authorization Act provision.

He said he believes it's a particularly potent issue for the new 8th District which, according to the U.S. census, has a constituency that is about 12 percent Asian-American, many of them Muslim.

"The complaint I hear from certain Muslim-Americans or South Asians is that they feel targeted or profiled. This sows distrust long term," Krishnamoorthi said. "These types of laws only make it harder to get along."

Krishnamoorthi said he also believes that Democrats have "castigated" businesses too much over the past year.

"There are a lot of business people who feel that they have been maligned ... they consider themselves vilified and (that Democrats believe) that all corporations are bad."

Krishnamoorthi described those feelings as "visceral, sincere anger. And I'm disappointed by that rhetoric, quite frankly."

The 8th District includes towns from Elgin to Elk Grove Village and Palatine to Lombard, mostly in Cook and DuPage counties, along with a portion of Kane County.

Republican Joe Walsh is running unopposed in the GOP primary.

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