Dem. chief says Kirk "moderate"
During two heated Democratic challenges, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk of Highland Park was targeted by millions of dollars in TV ads painting him as a far right Republican in his north suburban district.
Much of the time, it was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paying for and writing those ads.
Kirk spent millions of dollars himself on ads to cultivate a moderate, independent brand in the 10th District.
Now it seems the DCCC agrees with him.
DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen said during a C-SPAN interview Sunday that Kirk is a "moderate," contradicting his own organizations efforts to paint him as the opposite and undermining attempts by Senate Democratic opponents to do the same.
When a reporter on C-SPAN remarked to Van Hollen that many moderate Republicans are leaving the House, the chairman agreed and pointed to Kirk as an example, among others.
"At one point the moderates were an endangered species. Now they are virtually extinct," Van Hollen said. "You have Mark Kirk. He is running for Senate."
Van Hollen went on to say, "Those who were some of the moderate members of the Republican constellation in the House are mostly moving on. I do think that reflects the problem the Republicans have."
A spokesman for Kirk didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.
Yet, now that Kirk is running for U.S. Senate in a GOP primary, he hasn't talked much about being a "moderate." Instead, he has rallied gatherings of Republicans by highlighting where he aligns with his party.
While he voted for President Barack Obama's cap-and-trade pollution control proposal in the House, he has relented to pressure from the party's base and vowed to oppose it if elected to the Senate. He has characterized the Democrats' health care reform as a dangerous government take over of the industry.
Listen to the full clip of Van Hollen here: