08/17/2012 11:23 am ET Updated Aug 17, 2012

Joe Walsh: I'm Not 'Too Much Of A Loose Cannon'

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is showing little remorse for a laundry list of polarizing statements that have landed the freshman lawmaker in national headlines.

"Am I too much of a loose cannon? No. I think people appreciate any Republican or Democrat who finally talks straight to people," he told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board in an interview published Friday.

In his second joint appearance with Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth, Walsh said he thinks "people find it generally refreshing" when he is candid during his town hall meetings, which have become fertile ground for Democratic trackers hoping to catch Walsh in an off-the-cuff moment.

Walsh found himself in the hot seat earlier this summer for suggesting that Duckworth -- a disabled veteran of the Iraq War -- was not a "true hero" because she was making her military service a central part of her campaign.

After Walsh's comments went viral, he issued a mostly unapologetic statement re-asserting that Duckworth's war experience is "darn near all of what" she talks about on the campaign trail.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Duckworth said most people know she lost both her legs in the Iraq War, and she does not like to discuss her military record "unless people ask."

This week's Tribune interview came as Walsh was under fire for another inflammatory remark -- warning constituents that "radical Islam" is prevalent in the suburbs of Chicago.

"Did I once again at a town hall get a little ahead of myself with my language? Absolutely," Walsh told the Tribune editors. "Again guys, the context is, there's Joe Walsh out talking to voters and Tammy Duckworth and all these other cameras filming me. The point I was trying to make was we don't know where [the threat is], but they're everywhere. They are in towns big and small throughout this country."

During a recent discussion with reporters, Walsh boasted that he would take on the "clueless" Tribune editorial board and "just fire at them" because he knows he will not win their endorsement.

However, an article summarizing the editorial board interview suggested that Walsh spent a sizable chunk of his time defending his "sharp tongue."

Walsh has been characteristically frank about his disdain for the Democratic operatives who have captured him in the middle of controversies-in-waiting.

"Look, Tammy Duckworth is filming me!" Walsh exclaimed at a recent event, gesturing toward the video camera pointed at him several feet away. "And she's going to do some kind of commercial making me out to be some kind of crazy guy."



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