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Rep. Walsh flips out, digs in on criticism of double-amputee veteran

By Jonathan Terbush
Thursday, July 5, 2012 18:49 EDT
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Image via screengrab, CNN
 
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Tea Party favorite freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) took to CNN today to do damage control over his critical remarks about his congressional challenger’s military record. But the appearance quickly went awry, with a frustrated Walsh repeating host Ashleigh Banfield’s name dozens of times as he tried to cut in and speak his mind.

When Banfield asked Walsh if he’d verbally slipped up in saying that opponent Tammy Duckworth—who lost both legs as a result of injuries sustained when an RPG struck her helicopter in Iraq—is not a “true hero” because she talks too much about her military service, Walsh offered no apology but a slight clarification.

“No, Ashleigh, this wasn’t a slip-up. I don’t regret anything I said,” Walsh said. “Understand me. Every man and woman who’s worn the uniform is a hero in my book.”

Walsh blamed the Duckworth campaign for “manufacturing” the story because they’d caught it on tape, though Banfield wouldn’t bite, saying that the comment would have been equally controversial no matter who caught it. As the conversation wound aimlessly around this back and forth, Walsh began repeating, “Ashleigh,” over and over in an attempt to silence the host and return to his talking points in an instance reminiscent of when Michele Bachmann raised her hand and repeatedly called CNN Host Anderson Cooper’s name during a presidential debate last year.

A Huffington Post supercut of the interview shows Walsh saying, “Ashleigh” around 90 times.

In a statement released Wednesday, progressive veterans organization VoteVets admonished Walsh and called for his resignation.

“Joe Walsh’s disgust for our veterans’ sacrifices knows no bounds,” the organization said. “We are past the point of calling on Joe Walsh to apologize. He should step aside and stop embarrassing his district and America.”

Walsh’s erratic behavior has garnered him headlines in the past. Last year, he shouted at his own constituents during a town hall meeting, threatened to kick someone out and then blamed the incident on a lack of caffeine.

Watch the interview below:

 

Jonathan Terbush
Jonathan Terbush
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
 
 
 
 
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