McCain in Glenview to endorse Kirk in bid for Burris' senate seat

The man who ran against Barack Obama for president announced he is backing Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk for Obama's old Senate seat.

Sen. John McCain was in Glenview Sunday to back Kirk's bid to succeed Sen. Roland Burris.

Kirk is among more than a half dozen candidates vying for the Feb. 2 GOP primary nomination.

The event, which was a fundraiser for veterans, also provided an opportunity for both McCain and Kirk to take verbal swipes at Illinois and Washington politicians.

"This election is at a very critical time for our state," Kirk said. "Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris have humiliated the state of Illinois, and we need to elect new leaders with a high level of integrity who will restore public trust."

McCain said he is not familiar with all allegations against Burris, but said, "(The) stories have been disturbing about the governor and other aspects of the political scene here in Illinois," said McCain.

McCain attacked Washington politicians for pork barrel spending and adding trillions of dollars to the national debt. He branded Kirk as a fiscal conservative who will buck the trend.

"Spending in Washington is out of control," McCain said. "We now have record deficits and a national debt that is exploding. We need a senator that will hold the line on spending."

For his part, Kirk pledged to vote for lower taxes, lessen spending and borrowing and support smaller government. He said he would oppose earmarks, support the line-item veto, and "make the balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution the law of the land."

McCain, a Vietnam War hero, also praised Kirk's service to his country and his expertise on national security issues. Kirk, an intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve, has served in Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, Afghanistan and Iraq.

He is also involved in the effort to build a new veterans hospital in Lake County.

Kirk said caring for Americans who wear the uniform would be one of his top priorities in the Senate.

During a question-and-answer session, Kirk defended Republican opposition to Democratic health care proposals, saying his party offers better alternatives. He outlined three examples: the medical rights act that would protect decisions made between a doctor and patient; insurance reforms that allow the purchase of out-of-state health insurance; and defensive medicine reforms.

McCain defended the cap-and-trade legislation that he and Kirk have supported.

"Many of us believe that climate change is real and is endangering our planet and that if we don't take action to reduce and eventually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions that our very planet is threatened."

However, he said he is disappointed with the Obama administration's rejection of nuclear power as an alternative.

He and Kirk also declared their disappointment with the Obama administration's decision to investigate interrogation techniques during the War on Terror, even though McCain said he believes the United State violated the Geneva Convention rules against torture.

Kirk said, "I do not believe we should put CIA officers in double jeopardy. I'm worried that many CIA officers now working, for example, in Afghanistan may be more interested in finding a lawyer than bin Laden."

Former Republican Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona and 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk. Msrk Black | Staff Photographer
Former Republican Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona and 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk. Msrk Black | Staff Photographer
10th District Congressman Mark Kirk grins as he get the endorsement of former Republican Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona, in his bid to win the Illinois U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Msrk Black | Staff Photographer
The scene at the fundraiser in which former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona endorsed 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk. Msrk Black | Staff Photographer
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