In a debate stunt gone wrong on Tuesday night, incumbent Congressman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) attacked his Democratic challenger, Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, by showing a photo of Duckworth choosing her dress for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which she neatly turned around by calling attention to her military service.
At the rambunctious debate in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, Walsh accused Duckworth of being a DC-Beltway insider candidate.
According to Talking Points Memo, Walsh said, "And I think darn near everybody in this audience is sick and tired — and I’ll say with a smile — of Republicans and Democrats, elected officials, who seem to poll test every syllable of every word that they utter, because they’re so afraid of offending people and losing votes. You’re seeing the perfect example of that up here on this stage. Tammy Duckworth will not say a thing that David Axelrod and her advisers won’t let her say.”
He then held up a photo of Duckworth picking out a dress in order to attack her for the apparent sin of wanting to wear something nice on national television.
“I was marching in a parade in Schaumburg (IL), Sunday, two days before the Democratic convention,” he said, “when Tammy Duckworth was on a stage down in Charlotte (NC) — if you can look at the picture — picking out a dress for her speech Tuesday night.”
Duckworth responded in her own statement, saying, "And yes, I do sometimes look at the clothes that I wear, but for most of my adult life, I’ve worn one color — it’s called camouflage.”
Walsh is engaged in a fierce battle with Duckworth for Chicago's 8th District. Earlier this year, Walsh claimed that Duckworth, who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq, was not a "true hero" in the sense that she has talked about her service in Iraq as part of her campaign. According to Walsh, "Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about. That’s why we are so indebted and in awe of what they have done.”
Duckworth responded in the debate, "My opponent has attempted to criticize me for talking about my military service. But I served — and he didn’t, so you’ll forgive me if I talk about it a little bit now — because I think it’s important. My military service is key to understanding who I am as a person. It is at the core of my life of service to this nation. You know, when you’re part of a unit, it’s not about the individual, it’s about the mission and banding together to get things done.”
TPM reports that "A survey from mid-September conducted by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters, showed Duckworth leading Walsh by a margin of 52 percent to 38 percent."
Watch the video, embedded via Talking Points Memo, below: