PI Original Josh Kalven Thursday June 11th, 2009, 11:17am

Giannoulias Assails Kirk's "Reckless Actions"

On Tuesday, we noted the growing controversy over GOP Rep. Mark Kirk's claim that he told Chinese officials not to believe the budget numbers coming from the Obama administration. At a Center for Strategic and International Studies event, Kirk said that he communicated this ...

On Tuesday, we noted the growing controversy over GOP Rep. Mark Kirk's claim that he told Chinese officials not to believe the budget numbers coming from the Obama administration.  At a Center for Strategic and International Studies event, Kirk said that he communicated this message in order to -- wait for it -- "build trust and confidence in our number one creditor."  Today, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias gave us a preview of one potential 2010 U.S. Senate match-up, releasing the following statement:

“In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Mark Kirk is essentially telling China, which holds more U.S. debt than any nation on earth, not to trust the American government, and by extension, the American people. This puts the full faith and credit of the United States at risk and threatens to permanently wreak havoc on the credit markets that are essential to our recovery and our economic future.

“Congressman Kirk’s reckless actions demonstrate a terrible lapse in judgment and should be immediately retracted,” said Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

It's worth noting that it's not only the liberal blogoshere that has questioned Kirk's actions.  Conservative blogger Sister Touldjah remarked: "He should have saved his comments for stateside rather than blabbing to Chinese officials."  And the Say Anything blog wrote: "I’m sorry, but politics stops at the border.  Rep. Kirk can say whatever he wants about Obama’s budgeting here at home, but all but calling the President a liar to a foreign nation is not appropriate for a member of Congress."  

Are Kirk's actions going to affect relations between China and the U.S. in any meaningful way?  Probably not.  After all, the Chinese government doesn't need Kirk's input to understand the fiscal state of the U.S. Treasury.  They're obviously paying close attention.  What this incident did prove is that when Kirk heads to the international stage, he takes his ego and political ambitions along with him, then brags about his bravado when he returns home.  That's not a good sign.

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