In his seven months on the job, 8th District Rep. Joe Walsh hasn't been shy about speaking his mind through the media.
But nothing, perhaps, has garnered as much publicity as a heated exchange over the debt ceiling debate with MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews Tuesday, a video which has gone viral over the past 24 hours.
Contact information ( * required )
"With all that's going on (in Washington) today, all people wanted to talk about was the Matthews interview," Walsh said Wednesday in a phone interview.
The 11-minute show segment, shot from the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building, escalated to a verbal brawl quickly.
Matthews asked Walsh why Republican-backed legislation adding a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution doesn't mention any specific cuts, a key GOP critique of the Obama administration's debt ceiling plan.
"Hey Chris, hey Chris, hey Chris," Walsh shouts repeatedly. "Try one at a time," he tells the host.
After Matthews suggested the president's request -- to raise the debt ceiling without such a Constitutional amendment -- is a reasonable one, Walsh told Matthews that "your president, who sends a tingle up your leg ... has not been serious about this debt crisis."
Matthews asked if Walsh would resign from office if the country is hit by a debt ceiling crisis in August, a question Walsh called "silly."
Walsh then called Matthews a "bully."
The interview ended when Matthews invited Walsh to come back on the show, and Walsh replied, "You need to be more objective but I love it, Chris."
Walsh said Wednesday he didn't regret any of his words.
"I guess I was disappointed that it got so kind of out of hand, but that's sort of how he is. What you can't do with a bully is back down," he said.
"A lot of people on my side of the aisle don't like to go on shows like that. I don't mind it at all and in fact, I find it often more interesting than going on friendly shows."
Walsh said the reaction from his peers has been largely positive.
"I've even had a few Democrats come up to me and quietly say 'way to go'. ... I haven't gotten any word from leadership." There are 87 Republican freshman. I've probably been one of the more vocal out there. (They) recognize each one of their guys and gals bring a strength to the table."