CHICAGO (CBS) — “I’m not a racist.” That’s what Sen. Mark Kirk is saying after two groups withdrew their endorsement of him. It was the result of comments Kirk made in last week’s debate against opponent Tammy Duckworth, CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports.

At last Thursday’s debate, Duckworth touted her military experience saying, “Families like mine are the ones that bleed first…”

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And when Kirk responded, he said, “I’d forgotten your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

Duckworth’s mother is from Thailand. It’s her father who traces his herative back to the Revolution. But Kirk’s comments are just the latest in a long string of bizarre remarks, since recovering from a severe stroke.

The audience reacted with stunned silence. And today, two groups reacted by pulling their Kirk endorsements.

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, called Kirk’s remarks “Deeply offensive and racist.”

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And the anti-gun violence group founded by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, said Kirk’s attack “represents a low point, even in this election season.”

Kirk later appologized. Duckworth accepted, saying, “Let’s just focus on the issues.”

Kkrk is trying to move past the charges, with a spokesman saying today the senator “is incredibly proud of his leadership to fight discrimination.”

Duckworth holds a big lead in campaign cash, at leat 3-to-1 by some accounts. and gaffes like Kirk’s latest won’t help him raise more in the closing week of the race.

 

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