MSNBC host to Joe Walsh: You ‘lack a level of integrity’

By David Edwards
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 16:50 EDT
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Martin Bashir and Joe Walsh
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MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on Tuesday accused tea party Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) of lacking ‘a level of integrity’ for opposing President Barack Obama over the nation’s debt while owing thousands in unpaid child support himself.

It was revealed last year that Walsh owed over $100,000 in unpaid child support. MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell later banned Walsh from his show, calling him a “deadbeat dad.”

The Republican congressman has Obama over spending, saying he would not “place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids.”

“You’ve repeatedly said over the last two years in your opposition to the president, when he’s even suggested raising a surtax of naught-point-five percent to enable the American Jobs Act to be paid for, that naught-point-five percent levied against people earning more than a million dollars, you’ve opposed that,” Bashir noted during an interview with Walsh about the president’s upcoming State of the Union address. “And one of the things that you have repeatedly said is that you will not place another dollar on the back of your children.”

“Haven’t you already done that by inadequately paying child support?” Bashir wondered. “That is a question viewers have asked me. They’d like to know why you still owe $117,437 in child support.”

“Hey, Martin, I don’t,” Walsh replied. “And I’m fighting this issue — as I have gone around my district telling everyone — legally and privately. I don’t and I’m going to fight it, but this is not an issue I’m going to bring up my kids or even my ex-wife on TV.”

“If the election between Mitt Romney and the president, or Newt Gingrich and the president resorts to these types of personal attacks by both sides, the country as a whole will lose,” the tea party Republican complained.

“This speaks to the integrity and character of individuals,” Bashir explained. “Just as many people have asked very serious questions about Newt Gingrich and his serial adultery and his multiple affairs, and people have asked very serious questions about Mitt Romney and whether he knows anything about what it feels like to be an ordinary wage earner in the middle class, given that he’s so wealthy — so I’m asking you honestly and honorably and respectfully, you are serving a constituency in the Congress, and yet many of your own constituents find you to be a man who seems to lack a level of integrity, where you would harang the president, you talk about not wanting to raise debt against your children, and yet, you yourself are in debt on child support.”

“Martin, let me ask you a very simple question,” Walsh pleaded. “Do you believe in the principle that you are innocent until proven guilty?”

“I absolutely do,” Bashir agreed.

“If and when those charges are proved — if they are disproved, will you acknowledge that I’m not guilty yet?” Walsh asked.

“I absolutely do,” Bashir said.

Watch this video from MSNBC’s Martin Bashir, broadcast Jan. 24, 2012.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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