By Derrick Blakley

CHICAGO (CBS) — A new television commercial for Sen. Mark Kirk claims opponent Rep. Tammy Duckworth turned her back on abuse of veterans.

But Duckworth says those claims are at least misleading, if not outright lies, CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports.

Campaigning at UIC today, Duckworth says Kirk’s getting desperate.

“It’s a very ‘Karl Rove’ tactic to go after your opponents’ greatest strength and one of my greatest strengths is dedication to veterans,” Duckworth said.

Her dedication was questioned in a new Kirk ad.

“The VA scandal, thousands of veterans died. Whistle-blowers asked Tammy Duckworth for help again,” the commercial says.

Whistle-blowers at Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital charged records were falsified to cover-up long patient waits for treatment.

“Nothing happened. I’m yelling and screaming ‘our veterans are being harmed,'” the commercial goes on.

But not true, says Duckworth.

“The (inspector general) report happened because I asked for it. And I actually called for more outside investigation,” Duckworth said.

In fact, the first words of the inspector general’s report say it was requested by Sen. Richard Durbin and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. And she helped initiate a follow-lip probe by a special counsel. Still, Kirk sees it differently.

“When she has been asked for help by veterans, the standard operating procedure is for her to give lip service and not do anything, just cover-up.”

“Tammy put political ambition before our veterans, that’s shameful,” the advertisement says.

But both Kirk, and the new TV ad muddle the Hines allegations, with a long-standing lawsuit filed by two other self-proclaimed whistle-blowers who say they were fired in retaliation when Duckworth ran the Illinois Veterans Administration.

“A lawsuit that was dismissed three times and called a nuisance lawsuit by the judge,” Duckworth said.

Reports now indicate the national Democratic party is shifting TV ad spending away from the Duckworth race, supported by polling that shows her with a comfortable lead, less than a month away from Election Day.

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