Congressional candidate backs off claim he influenced Rudolph Giuliani

  • Kirk Morris, right, a Republican candidate in the 8th Congressional District, with presidential contender Rudolph Giuliani, left, taken at a September fund-raiser in Lake Forest.

    Kirk Morris, right, a Republican candidate in the 8th Congressional District, with presidential contender Rudolph Giuliani, left, taken at a September fund-raiser in Lake Forest. Courtesy Photo

 
 
Updated 1/12/2008 12:19 AM

Republican congressional candidate Kirk Morris this week claimed he "enlightened" presidential contender Rudolph Giuliani about the benefits of a virtual fence securing the U.S. border.

Morris, 50, of Gurnee, now is retreating from the characterization of his Giuliani encounter, which he discussed at a Daily Herald editorial board interview.

 

"In my Daily Herald interview, I unfortunately misspoke about the amount of time I had with Rudy Giuliani and my influence on his position on the issue," Morris said in a written statement Friday.

Steve Greenberg of Long Grove, Kenneth Arnold of Gurnee and Morris are in the Republican race for the 8th Congressional District, which includes northwest Cook, eastern McHenry and western Lake counties. Arnold and Greenberg criticized Morris for his Giuliani remarks.

On Monday, Morris visited the Daily Herald's Arlington Heights headquarters for an editorial board interview. He was asked for his thoughts on U.S. border security.

"Have you heard Giuliani's position?" Morris said. "His virtual fence proposition? That was something I talked to Giuliani about back in July, when he was here in Chicago.

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"We had an hour, an hour and a half face-to-face and I was enlightening him on it -- now there is an awful lot of stuff he can enlighten me on -- but when it came to sensors and technology like that, he really didn't know what that was."

Morris' campaign clarified that he met Giuliani at a private fundraiser at the Lake Forest home of Michele and Michael Medzigian in September, not July. Morris had his picture taken with Giuliani.

"Even though we did discuss and agree on the issue of border security, I did not take part in assisting him form a policy position on the issue, and apologize for any mistaken impression," Morris said in the statement.

Giuliani spokesman Jarrod Agen said the Republican presidential candidate and former New York mayor has had experts on border security and illegal immigration advising the campaign. Part of Giuliani's presidential platform calls for building physical and high-tech virtual fences on the U.S.-Mexico border.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Meanwhile, the campaign manager for the 36-year-old Greenberg issued a statement Friday criticizing Morris.

Brad Goodman, the Greenberg campaign operative, said he was present when Morris "told the same make-believe story" about Giuliani to another suburban newspaper's editorial board.

"Voters don't appreciate dishonesty," Goodman said. "Our nation already has enough politicians that don't tell the truth."

Arnold, 51, said Morris should not have tried to attach himself to Giuliani .

"It's name-dropping," Arnold said. "It's BS. It's a classic case of political name-dropping that has nothing to do with substance."

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