Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, was talking about why she wants to make the move to the upper house.
“My family has served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution." said Duckworth. "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, because people are quick to sound the drums of war and I want to be there to say this is what it costs and this is what you’re asking us to do.”
Sen. Kirk, hoping to sound witty, responded, "I forgot that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve .”
That remark was met with resounding silence as the debate continued. One of the panelists asked Duckworth if she wanted to respond.
“There’s been members of my family serving in uniform on my father’s side going back to the Revolution,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud of both my father’s side and my mother, who’s an immigrant. She became a citizen in her 50s. And I’m just as proud of that.”
It is her father's family that dates back to the Revolutionary War.
Following the debate, the Kirk campaign issued a statement, but not an apology. "Senator Kirk has consistently called Rep. Duckworth a war hero and honors her family's service to this country," it read.
It was the second of three debates between Duckworth and Kirk. The next debate will be Nov. 4.
The Illinois Senate campaign is one the Democrats think they can unseat the incumbent, who is part of the Paul Ryan wing of the GOP.