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updated: 11/15/2011 3:58 PM

Schaumburg letter carrier, Walsh have different stories about outburst

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  • Rep. Joe Walsh of McHenry

      Rep. Joe Walsh of McHenry
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

and Projects Writer

A Schaumburg woman in the line of fire during Congressman Joe Walsh's recent tirade in Gurnee is now refuting the McHenry Tea Partyer's claims that he apologized to her for his outburst.

"He never said, 'I'm sorry,'" Melissa Rakestraw, a 42-year-old letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, told the Daily Herald. Walsh, she said, "Came up and talked to me face to face. He did thank me for coming."

But Walsh, asked again about the incident, reiterated the statement he made late last week, noting he apologized for "getting a bit too passionate," to which he said Rakestraw "smiled and didn't mind at all."

"Gosh, yeah, I did (apologize to her)," Walsh said again following the opening of his new district office Monday in Woodstock. "Probably two or three times."

The outburst occurred at one of Walsh's regular "Cup of Joe with Joe" sessions Nov. 6 at Uno Bar and Grill in Gurnee, in response to questions by Rakestraw and others about the lack of bank regulation and the presence of bank lobbyists in Washington.

"Don't blame the banks!" Walsh shouted, using some colorful language before adding he "doesn't want government meddling in the marketplace."

"Yeah, they move from Goldman Sachs to the White House, I understand all of that," he said. "But you gotta' be consistent. And it's not the private marketplace that created this mess. What created this mess was your government."

Rakestraw, sitting at the restaurant's bar in the video, asks Walsh to "stop screaming at me, I'm not screaming at you."

Though she was smiling in the video, she said "his rude and obnoxious behavior was not appreciated by me."

Rakestraw, an independent who did not vote for Walsh in the 2010 election, said she attended the meeting to encourage Walsh to support legislation that would

give the Postal Service access to billions of dollars in pre-funded pension accounts. Postal unions support the legislation and say it would prevent the service's collapse.

Walsh says the government is "propping up" the postal service.

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