The debate between Rep. Joe Walsh and Tammy Duckworth yesterday on CLTV.com and WGNtv.com was generally respectful. We had a crowd of over 50 people watching the broadcast together in Schaumburg.
Here are links to the videos from CLTV.com so you can watch it and judge for yourself.
If you don't have time to watch all four segments, start with Part 4.
Joe defended his record very firmly and politely in response to many good questions by the moderators, who seemed to be fair and interested in discussing serious issues thoughtfully rather than just creating "gotcha" clips for the news.
Tammy Duckworth was basically reciting her Obama talking points. Frankly, it reminded me of one of those old toys with a string which you pull to get it to recite a short phrase. She kept talking about taxing all the "millionaires and billionaires" (even saying trillionaires at one point!) in the name of fairness and to "help the most vulnerable among us", as though we were all helpless victims oppressed by greedy rich people and evil big corporations not paying enough taxes.
The funniest moment of the debate came when she accused Joe Walsh of being an extremist by saying there hadn't been any "crackpot Tea Party idea he hasn't endorsed". (Part 4 - 08:30) Joe asked her whether that meant she was accusing her constituents of being crackpots. Apparently she regards individual liberty and limitations on the role of government as "crackpot" ideas.
Another humorous moment was when Joe mentioned that he chooses to sleep in his office in Washington rather than live there, and come back to the district every week to meet with constituents. She said that she regarded that as "taxpayer subsidized housing", which drew laughs from the crowd.
On a more serious note, she also dodged the question about supporting big bank bailouts, and talked about how she would "make the banks" do such things as change mortgages to bail out homeowners. She also insisted that the "Bush tax cuts" should be allowed to expire at the end of this year, which is going to cost all taxpayers a lot of money.
She touted her tole at the VA at helping to create a $600 tax credit for hiring veterans, and her work with homeless veterans. Joe pointed out that politicians keep proposing new programs at election time to appeal to specific voter groups instead of engaging in more fundamental tax reforms to improve the general economy and create more jobs.
She repeatedly attacked the Ryan budget plan with the vague accusation that it would "end Medicare as we know it", repeating the usual Democratic scare tactics to mislead senior citizens and others about this proposal. Joe pointed out that it is really Obama's policies which are threatening to bankrupt Medicare and Medicaid within a few years.
Following the debate, the Walsh campaign distributed the email below to supporters, including a fundraising appeal.
You are not a"crackpot" for believing in fiscal responsibility
Tonight's debate between Congressman Joe Walsh and Tammy Duckworth featured a clear-cut difference between the two candidates. Joe continued to stand for lowering taxes, term limits, balancing our budget, and saving our safety nets. His opponent suggested those notions and the many people like you who believe in them are a "crackpot".
As expected, Tammy never left her insider-Democrat talking points, but she resorted to the low personal attack of calling believers, like you, in fiscal responsibility "crackpots".
The Congressman immediately challenged her claim that you are a "crackpot" for believing in those principles. Walsh also continued to stand for limited government, fiscal responsibility, and economic growth throughout the entire debate.
It is critical that we senda message to Tammy Duckworth that "regular people" in the 8th District are not "crackpots" for wanting to renew our country's greatness and its promise.
Click here to tell Tammy that millions of Americans are not crazy for believing in common sense ideas by making a donation to the campaign.
-Walsh for Congress Team