With less than two months until the Nov. 6 election, a northwest suburban congressional battle is finding freshman Republican Rep.
The heightened battle lines were on full display late Friday night during an hour-long TV debate, where
Duckworth blasted Walsh for inflammatory rhetoric against Muslim-Americans, labeled him as being part of the do-nothing “status quo” in Washington and attacked his absolute opposition to
The increasingly negative tone in the candidates' third face-to-face meeting reflected the high stakes in the new Democratic-drawn 8th Congressional District, a contest that has been among the most closely watched in the nation.
During his first two years in office, Walsh has been an icon of the
Emanuel’s support came up in the debate as a framework for a resolution of Chicago’s week-long teacher’s
"The side I'm on is the children," she said.
Walsh, however, said the strike pointed out the need for more charter schools and vouchers to allow parents to send children to private schools. "This strike wasn't about money," he said. "This strike was because the unions don't want teachers evaluated for the work they do."
During the discussion of the recent unrest in the Middle East — and the nation’s response to embassy attacks and the murder of four U.S. diplomats in Libya — the outspoken Walsh attacked the “political correctness” of the Obama administration and defended Republican presidential candidate
"We forget about some very blunt facts, that there are evil people around the world and right here at home trying to kill Americans," Walsh said. "If you can't keep our embassies safe, if you can't keep Americans safe in our embassies…we'll pull those embassies.… If these countries can't control this dangerous radical strain of Islamists, we'll cut off aid. We need to be very clear."
Duckworth said the response to the attacks represented “a time for very cool heads. What we need to do is make sure that the rest of the world knows that America will not accept being attacked” but that “this cannot be made into a political issue by either Democrats or
Earlier in the campaign, Walsh created controversy by telling a town hall meeting that the threat of radical Islam existed "here" in Elk Grove Village, Addison and Elgin. He followed along that theme by criticizing the administration's response to the uprisings as "almost apologizing" for an anti-Muslim film that is being blamed for some of the violence.
"We condemn the violence," Walsh said. "Freedom of speech isn't second to anything."
But Duckworth contended Walsh's rhetoric led to attacks on three Chicago-area mosques. "I think that you identifying three specific towns with large Islamic communities in our district put a lot of Americans who love this country dearly at risk and that was irresponsible of you to do that as a sitting congressman," she said.
With new reports showing Illinois holding the highest home foreclosure rate in the nation last month, Walsh said government mortgage programs have been little more than a "Band aid" that have been unsuccessful. He said the best housing program was "a job" and faulted government restrictions on bank lending practices.
But Duckworth said banks that were bailed out by taxpayer money should be making loans to those people with good credit to refinance homes with mortgages under water.