Things got intense on Thursday afternoon when Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) appeared on CNN and was pressed on recent remarks he made suggesting his Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth, a double-amputee veteran who served in Iraq, isn't a "true hero."
When asked by network anchor Ashleigh Banfield if he would characterize his choice of words as a "slip up," the Tea Party-backed congressman said, "No, Ashleigh, this wasn't a slip-up. I don't regret anything I said. Understand me. Every man and woman who's worn the uniform is a hero in my book." He added, "I've said that thousands of times. I've called Tammy Duckworth a hero hundreds of times."
The exchange took a rocky turn when Banfield challenged Walsh on the root of the controversy, which the Republican congressman argued was "manufactured" by Duckworth's campaign.
"Ashleigh, Ashleigh, Ashleigh," Walsh said in attempt to hold his ground during the segment. Over the course of the interview, the GOP lawmaker tried to regain control of his line of messaging by saying Banfield's name more than 90 times. Check out this mash-up and count for yourself:
One day earlier on "The Situation Room," Walsh sought to do damage control on the heels of sparking backlash with his initial remarks.
"She is a hero and that demands our respect, but it doesn't demand our vote," he said of Duckworth. Walsh went on to suggest, however, that "all she does" is "talk about her service."
"Voters in this district want to have an inkling of where she stands on the issues and she never ever gets directly in front of people," he asserted. "I salute her service, but my god, the voters want to know if she has any thought on the issues."
Duckworth regarded Walsh's remarks about her military service as "irresponsible" during an appearance on MSNBC earlier this week.
The Democratic congressional candidate said, "He's trying to muddy the waters." She added, "He's just trying to shift the focus away from the fact that he's done nothing for the people of the district. He's irresponsible in his words and he's irresponsible in his actions."
Video by HuffPost's Amanda Terkel.
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