Duckworth addresses Democratic convention as race with Kirk looms

  • U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth spoke to the Democratic National Convention Thursday.

    U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth spoke to the Democratic National Convention Thursday. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 7/29/2016 12:34 AM

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth told the Democratic National Convention on its final night that she owed her political career to the crew that saved her life after her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq in 2004.

"I started that day doing what I loved. I ended it knocked down -- surviving only because my buddies refused to leave me and wouldn't stop, even as they struggled to carry my body, with its missing limbs," she said Thursday of the day a rocket-propelled grenade hit her Black Hawk helicopter. "Eleven days later, I woke up with a debt that I can never repay."

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The Hoffman Estates Democrat's political career hinges on the November election, when she faces a tough, high-profile race for U.S. Senate against Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park.

Duckworth stood on her prosthetic legs behind the main stage podium and spoke briefly of her toddler daughter, the speech coming a few hours before Hillary Clinton was to accept the party's nomination for president.

"My Abigail already knows that women can fly helicopters in combat," Duckworth said. "And in 102 days, when we elect Hillary, my daughter's first memories of a president will be of a woman."

Last week, Kirk skipped the Republican convention, the absence amplifying his ongoing criticism of GOP candidate Donald Trump. Kirk said he thinks Clinton is unpopular in Illinois compared to President Barack Obama, which he says should help him in November.

Duckworth, who served in the Illinois National Guard, didn't mention Kirk or her race in the speech, but she did call out Trump.

"By the way, Donald Trump," she said, "I didn't put my life on the line to defend our democracy so you could invite Russia to interfere in it."

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