On Tuesday, October 9th, incumbent Republican congressman for IL – 08, Joe Walsh, duked it out with Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth during an exchange that was more like a circus than a debate. The highly contested race brought hundreds of supporters on both sides out to cheer – and in some cases boo and harass – the candidates.
Moderator Dr. Paul Green of Roosevelt University was unsuccessful in taming the raucous crowd and eventually gave up trying. Meanwhile, panelists Steve Cochran of AM 560 WIND and Dick Kay from WCPT-AM & FM asked questions with a decidedly liberal bias – attacking Walsh and pressing him for specifics while letting Duckworth slide by with simple questions and inane answers.
Some highlights of the debate included a wager made by Walsh to Duckworth. The candidates had two drastically opposing stories regarding how the owners of a local restaurant, Chicago Prime Steakhouse, feel about Obamacare. Duckworth’s answer was non-committal, claiming the owners were open to Obamacare. Stating that the owners had told him they wanted Obamacare repealed in its entirety, Walsh disagreed so vehemently that he offered to go with Duckworth to talk to the owners together.
“Ms. Duckworth [...] let’s you and I together sit down with the owners of Chicago Prime Steakhouse [...] let’s ask them up and down what they’d like to do with Obamacare. If they don’t tell you and I that they’d love to see Obamacare repealed, I will contribute $2,500 to your campaign.” Duckworth refused to give Walsh a direct answer and ultimately did not agree to the wager.
One of Duckworth’s worst blunders of the evening occurred when Walsh brought up a pending lawsuit involving former employees of the Illinois VA who are suing Duckworth personally for, among other things, wrongful termination of employment. The plaintiffs allege that during her time as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs – a post she was appointed to by then Governor and current felon Rod Blagojevich – she fired a whistle-blower who reported unethical behavior by a superior.
Duckworth unabashedly lied in front of hundreds of people, claiming that this was “not true.” Court documents were passed out during a press conference following the debate that proved Walsh correct. A hearing in the case is currently set for December 17, 2012.