As republicans seem to do these days, incumbent GOP senator Mark Kirk tossed a racist slur at his opponent, Representative Tammy Duckworth, out of pure reflex.
In a debate on Thursday night, Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth — an Army helicopter pilot who lost both her legs in a crash in Iraq — talked about her family's long history of service in the military.
"My family has served this nation in uniform, going back to the Revolution. I'm a daughter of the American Revolution. I've bled for this nation. But I still want to be there in the Senate when the drums of war sound," Duckworth said. "Because people are quick to sound the drums of war, and I want to be there to say this is what it costs, this is what you're asking us to do … Families like mine are the ones that bleed first."
Kirk, given 30 seconds to respond, was curt, answering only: "I'd forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington." The moderator then moved on to the next question.
The remark was flippant and racially charged but also incorrect. Duckworth was born in Thailand to a Thai mother of Chinese heritage and an American father who was a U.S. Marine. A Mother Jones profile of Duckworth's 2012 House race notes her father, a World War II veteran, traces his heritage back to the American Revolution.