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Tea Party Rep. Walsh Attacks Opponent's Fashion Sense In Liquor-Fueled Debate

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 10, 2012 6:00PM

Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh (left) and his Democratic opponent, Tammy Duckworth. (Official photos)

If Tuesday night’s debate between Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh and his Democratic opponent in the November election, Tammy Duckworth, is a barometer, their next debate should be held in the Thunderdome.

Walsh, the Tea Party Darling, and Purple Heart awardee Duckworth traded barbs last night, spurred on by a crowd that was allowed to buy liquor throughout the night, according to the Daily Herald. Had no one in Illinois’ Eighth Congressional District ever heard that politics and alcohol don’t mix..

Thankfully, Walsh and Duckworth didn’t drink during the debate. Otherwise things may have gotten nastier than they did. Walsh painted Duckworth as a failed bureaucrat, called her a puppet of the Obama campaign and top Democratic advisers, and even criticized her fashion sense, waving a photo of her shopping for an outfit for the Democratic National Convention. (Walsh apparently learned the lesson that attacking Duckworth’s military service wasn’t a good idea.) This drew some of the most sustained boos of the night and one of the best responses, from Duckworth.

“I do sometimes look at the clothes that I wear, but you know, for most of my adult life, I’ve worn one color—it’s called camouflage.”

Duckworth stuck to her basic talking points that Walsh is serving the interests of Tea Partiers instead of his congressional district, and that he now epitomized the partisan gridlock that has made Congress ineffective, which both bolsters her campaign and lends credence to Walsh’s complaints that she’s only parroting Democratic talking points.

The crowd raucously cheered, booed and heckled the candidates and debate moderator throughout the two-hour event. During the quiet moments Walsh and Duckworth found themselves at odds over taxation, government spending and the future of programs like Medicare.

Duckworth has an edge over Walsh in recent polls, but Walsh has made this race—in a district gerrymandered by Illinois Democrats to push him out of office—close enough to where polls don’t matter. Walsh has also received $1.7 million in campaign contributions from conservative SuperPAC Now or Never, which led Duckworth to call for the banning of SuperPACs from politics. Walsh responded, “God bless (SuperPACs). I’m running against the White House.”

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