WASHINGTON — After taking heat for racially charged remarks, Rep. Joe Walsh issued a statement Friday asserting he was “in no way critical of minorities,” but an opposition group that had videotaped and distributed his remarks stepped up its attack.
The war of words erupted after Walsh, speaking May 26 at the Schaumburg Central Library, said the Democratic Party wants the Hispanic vote and they “want Hispanics to be dependent on government just like they got African Americans dependent on government. That’s their game.”
In an apparent reference to African Americans, Walsh went on to say that the Rev. Jesse Jackson would be “out of work if they weren’t dependent on government.”
He was captured on video by an organizer from CREDO SuperPac, which is targeting tea party lawmakers such as Walsh for defeat.
The group opened an office in Elk Grove Village in April with four full-time organizers, said Becky Bond, president of the political action committee.
Talking about Walsh, Bond said recently: “He’s too crazy to be in office.”
She doubled down in an interview Friday, remarking: “Joe Walsh is not only too crazy to be in Congress, but he’s too racist.”
Bond, speaking from San Francisco, said the political action committee was set up by a mobile phone company, CREDO Mobile, which funds issue-advocacy with its revenue.
Its causes include blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, defending Planned Parenthood and halting climate change, she said.
It’s doing battle against eight Republican lawmakers across the country and will target two more, she said.
Walsh, a freshman from McHenry known for lobbing verbal hand grenades, issued a statement late Friday headlined: “Walsh Reaffirms His Statement on Government Dependency & Growth.”
It began: “While my remarks last week were very direct and critical, they were in no way critical of minorities. They were, however, critical of Democratic policies that want to see Americans dependent on big government.”
He is running against Democrat Tammy Duckworth in the 8th Congressional District in Chicago’s north and northwest suburbs.
She is a former assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Her campaign manager, Kaitlin Fahey, said Friday: “His remarks were not only offensive, they are especially irresponsible coming from a sitting member of Congress, and quite simply, residents here in the 8th District deserve better than that.”
Jackson told the Associated Press on Thursday that Walsh was showing bias against the poor and ignoring the fact that most government aid recipients are not black.
“For the rich, it’s called a subsidy. For the poor, it is welfare,” Jackson said.