Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh got in a spirited verbal sparring match with CNN personality Ashleigh Banfield Thursday over his comments in Elk Grove Village this week that Democrat Tammy Duckworth says attacked her military service.
Walsh and Banfield talked over each other for more than 10 minutes, with Walsh often repeating "Ashleigh, Ashleigh, Ashleigh" as the McHenry Republican sought to make the point that Duckworth should talk more about issues instead of her military service.
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"Because she's a war hero, Ashleigh, that demands our respect," Walsh said of the Hoffman Estates Democrat. "But that doesn't demand our vote. What demands our vote is when you tell us who I am …."
Banfield didn't do much to keep the interview calm.
"When I go up against somebody in an interview, I play the adversary," she said.
Walsh and Duckworth are locked in a tough battle for Congress in the 8th District, which is centered in Schaumburg and stretches from Addison to Elgin.
Duckworth has made her own TV appearances, too, after first criticizing Walsh for his original comments.
At a town-hall meeting, Walsh said Duckworth talks more about her military service than U.S. Sen. John McCain did during his run for president.
"I'm running against a woman who I mean, my God, that's all she talks about," Walsh told the crowd. "Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it's the last thing in the world they talk about."
Duckworth took the words as a slight.
"Congressman Walsh's comments insult those who sacrificed to make this country free," Duckworth campaign manager Kaitlin Fahey said in a statement. "Tammy is proud of her over 20 years of service with the Army and her family's legacy of fighting for this country."
Thursday wasn't the first time Walsh has been in a heated debate with a television news personality. It was almost exactly a year ago, in July 2011, when Walsh fought with MSNBC's Chris Matthews over the federal budget and the looming debt ceiling debate.