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Sen. Kirk to Illinois delegates: ‘I really wish I could be with you’

Sen. Mark Kirk

Sen. Mark Kirk

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Updated: September 30, 2012 6:27AM

Dressed in a light blue Oxford shirt and sitting in front of a bookcase, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke in January, made sure to put himself before Illinois delegates at the GOP convention on Tuesday — even if it was just on video.

The one-minute, edited recording showed the North Shore Republican appearing to be in an improved physical state from where he was months ago.

“I really wish I could be with you today,” Kirk said. “This is an exciting moment … this has got to be one of the most important elections that we’ve ever had.”

The address triggered a standing ovation from the few hundred delegates at the delegation’s breakfast Tuesday morning.

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who also addressed the crowd on Tuesday, said Kirk should be given time to recover and cited another instance when an official took a year before returning to Capitol Hill.

When asked if there was a reasonable length of time for which an elected official could be absent, Hastert said he didn’t know: “I’m not a doctor.”

— Natasha Korecki

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