Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) faced off against Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth in their third congressional debate on Tuesday, in an event notably peppered with sharp personal attacks.
In one of the most memorable verbal scuffles, Walsh attempted to accuse Duckworth of being carefully groomed and programmed by national Democrats. After characterizing her as a puppet of David Axelrod, however, Walsh decided to criticize Duckworth for being worried about "picking out a dress" ahead of her address at the Democratic National Convention.
“I was marching in a parade in Schaumburg, Sunday, two days before the Democratic convention, when Tammy Duckworth was on a stage down in Charlotte -- if you can look at the picture -- picking out a dress for her speech Tuesday night,” Walsh said, holding up a photo.
The crowd noise surged with boos and cheers, as it reportedly did throughout the night, while Duckworth prepared her rejoinder.
“He's trying to distract the discussion from the real issues that are at hand. And yes, I do sometimes look at the clothes that I wear,” she said. “But for most of my adult life, I’ve worn one color -- it’s called camouflage.”
(Exchange begins before 1:50 mark in video above, via the Chicago Daily Herald)
Walsh has taken heat for his angles of attack on Duckworth before. On the heels of the DNC, Walsh launched a similar strike, writing on his website that it had "become abundantly clear that at this point the only debate Ms. Duckworth is actually interested in having is which outfit she’ll be wearing for her big speech." Duckworth responded by downplaying the significance of the barb, which she characterized as "sexist."
The Tea Party-backed Republican brewed a greater controversy earlier this year, however, when he claimed that Duckworth, a double amputee who lost both legs while serving as a U.S. Army Blackhawk pilot in Iraq, was not a "true hero." Walsh, who has not served in the armed forces, later attempted to walk those comments back but maintained that Duckworth was too eager to discuss her military service during her campaign.
And Duckworth hasn't been the only one on the receiving end of the Walsh's blunt critiques. A clip in which he told women's health activist Sandra Fluke to "get a job" recently served as fodder for a large ad buy against him and other Republicans.
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Obama 'really isn't smart enough' to know what a tyrant is
At a June 16 town hall event in Elmhurst, Ill., Walsh <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/20/joe-walsh-obama-immigration-policy-change_n_1612997.html" target="_hplink">called</a> President Barack Obama a "tyrant" for announcing an immigration policy change that allows some young undocumented immigrants to stay in the country. Walsh then corrected himself, saying Obama "really isn't smart enough to know what that means."
Democrats want 'African-Americans dependent on government'
Walsh <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/joe-walsh-hispanics-african-americans_n_1557480.html" target="_hplink">accused</a> minority groups of being dependent on the federal government during a late April speech in Schaumburg, Ill. Walsh told constituents that Democrats "want Hispanics to be dependent on government just like they got African-Americans dependent on government. That's their game."
On Democratic opponent's military service
In a March interview with Politico's Dave Catanese, Walsh <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74625.html" target="_hplink">brushed off</a> Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth's military service. "I have so much respect for what she did in the fact that she sacrificed her body for this country," Walsh said of the double-amputee veteran of the Iraq War. "Ehhh. Now let's move on."
Obama elected because he 'was black, he was historic'
In a May 2011 interview with Slate's Dave Weigel, Walsh <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2011/05/what_did_he_just_say.2.html" target="_hplink">said</a> President Barack Obama was elected because of his race. "Why was he elected? Again, it comes back to who he was. He was black, he was historic," Walsh told Weigel.
'I don't care about the loss of public sector jobs'
When a constituent asked Walsh he supported saving post office jobs, he <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/11/10/365890/walsh-insults-post-office-worker/" target="_hplink">shot back</a>, "I don't care about the loss of public sector jobs," according to the constituent's account. His remarks came at the end of a heated town hall event in Gurnee, Ill., where Walsh <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/11/08/364180/joe-walsh-melts-down-bank-lobby/" target="_hplink">interrupted</a> constituents discussing bank lobbyists in Congress. "Don't blame banks, and don't blame the marketplace for the mess we're in right now!" Walsh shouted at attendees. "I am tired of hearing that crap! This pisses me off!"
'The country voted for' Obama because of his race
Walsh <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/04/30/473743/joe-walsh-obama-black/" target="_hplink">rehashed</a> his previous claims that Barack Obama was elected president because of his race during an April town hall event in Illinois. "He's our first African-American president," Walsh told constituents. "The country voted for him because of that."
Double-amputee Democratic opponent not a 'true hero'
Walsh <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/joe-walsh-tammy-duckworth_n_1646793.html" target="_hplink">criticized</a> Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth -- a double-amputee veteran of the Iraq War -- for making her military service central to her campaign and thus not being a "true hero." "Now I'm running against a woman who, my God, that's all she talks about," Walsh told constituents at a town hall event in Elk Grove, Ill., on Sunday. "Our true heroes, it's the last thing in the world they talk about."