From his Chicago office, Rush says he feels obliged to tell an old friend when he's wrong.
"It's a ploy on the part of a political that I am fairly disappointed in as we speak," Rush said.
Congressman Rush commented on Kirk's anti-violence proposal to devote millions of dollars to prosecute members of a predominantly African-American gang.
"It's a pretty big project... to crush a major urban gang," Kirk said.
If you want to stop this problem, if you want to see a real cooling off this summer, bring in summer jobs... cool this city down," Rush said.
Rush - a former black panther raised on the West Side of Chicago - says the plan by Kirk - a product of the north suburbs - shows a lack of knowledge about what can prevent violence. Rush's criticism included Kirk's race -- and today Rush says race is unavoidable in this issue.
"The jails are teeming now with African Americans, Latinos, but mainly African Americans who are locked up in these prisons all across the country, and these problems still have not been addressed," Rush said.
Rush and Kirk have served together for years in Congress. Rush was there to greet Kirk after Kirk had a stroke, and Rush says Kirk sent him notes when Rush was being treated for cancer. The two plan to meet privately Tuesday to discuss what has become a public disagreement about how to reduce violence.