This year’s election in the 8th Congressional District in the state of Illinois is sure to be a contentious one. Republican Congressman Joe Walsh
will go one-on-one with Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth
and the numbers suggest a tight race heading into November.
With three months to go, the congressional race is making headlines across the country over remarks made by the GOP incumbent at a recent two-hour town hall meeting in front of about 400 constituents where the discussion was on Obamacare.
“Now, I'm running against a woman who, I mean, my God, that's all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served, that's last thing in the world they talk about. That's why we – we are so indebted and in awe of what they have done,” stated Walsh in a video recorded at the town hall meeting.
After the comments were made, Walsh has appeared on numerous national cable television shows, including CNN
and Fox News
, where he has repeatedly defended himself.
Speaking with CNN
’s Ashleigh Banfield – he iterated her first name 91 times in just 12 minutes – and Laura Ingraham on Fox
, Walsh explained that at the beginning of every town hall meeting, he takes a moment to “recognize the heroes in our presence” because “any man or woman who wears a uniform is a hero. I’ve said that about Tammy countless times.”
Walsh believes this is a “manufactured issue.” He added that former presidential candidate and longtime Republican Senator John McCain, who also has an extensive military record, has been reluctant to talk about it.
“I have respect for her and her service, my thoughts and prayers go out to her, like they do every wounded warrior,” explained Walsh. “But that doesn’t demand our vote. Ashleigh, if that’s what it took to get your vote, John McCain, another hero, would be our president.”
Duckworth has openly spoken about the remarks, including in an interview with CNN
’s Piers Morgan. She noted that she has been talking about the issues with Walsh, but he has been the one to bring up her military service.
“I don’t mind if he attacks me personally," said Duckworth. "But when he says a veteran is not a true hero if they speak about their military service he's now discouraging 23 million veterans across this great nation from speaking about their service at a time when young vets coming home need to be talking about the leadership skills they developed in the military."
Duckworth served in Iraq and is a former United States Army helicopter pilot. She lost both of her legs and severely damaged her right arm. Duckworth continues to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.
This isn’t the first time that Walsh has made national headlines. In November, Digital Journal
reported that the freshman representative was caught on video yelling at his constituents during a meet and greet at a Chicago restaurant.