Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) says the Obama administration has shown a pattern of accusing its detractors of being racists, and said he’s afraid the president will use such accusations in the 2012 election to stymie criticism.

“We’ve seen this behavior with this president where he’s gently and sometimes not-so-subtly thrown out the race card,” Walsh said.


Speaking on Thursday to the National Rifle Association, Walsh was discussing Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's rally risk | Biden ramps up legal team | Biden hits Trump over climate policy Biden campaign forming 'special litigation' team ahead of possible voting battle Pompeo, Engel poised for battle in contempt proceedings MORE’s recent comment that the “more extreme segment” of his critics were going after him as a way to get at the president, because “we’re both African-American.”

“The minute you say, 'They’re criticizing me because I’m African American,' or whatever, that is voter intimidation,” Walsh said. “You are trying to stifle honest debate, and my fear is this is going to happen again in the next election. We saw it in ’08; thankfully, the president now has a record — he didn’t have a record in ’08 — so now we can criticize the fact that he destroyed the economy, and hopefully we can do that without being accused of being racist.”

Walsh also reiterated his claim that when Holder played the race card, it was part of an “orchestrated” effort by the administration to silence its critics by branding them racists.

“I can say something like, ‘This president in many ways had no business getting elected; he’s in over his head,’ and when I say something like that, often I’m accused of racism,” Walsh said. “When his attorney general sort of sings along the same tunes, you have to wonder if this is some, you know, orchestrated strategy of theirs, because they know they’ve got a media that will protect them every single day.”

Walsh called the behavior “shameful,” and said the media was complicit with the administration in pushing the storyline.

“This isn’t unusual,” he said. “When the left runs out of arguments and can no longer defend a position, they will often throw out the race card. This administration has done it, this president has done it, and Eric Holder is no different.”

This isn’t the first time Walsh has accused the administration of high-level machinations. Earlier this month he told the NRA that the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation was a plot hatched by the administration to impose stricter gun laws.

“This was the most anti-gun administration in our country’s history, and there are a number of us that believe the whole genesis of this Fast and Furious was to further their gun-control aims right here in the United States,” Walsh told NRA reporter Ginny Simone.

“When you look back at Holder’s testimony a few weeks ago — in his opening statement he basically fell back on that again and said, ‘You know what? You may have problems with Fast and Furious, but this just goes to show we need to keep a tighter lid on arms and guns in America that may be leaving the country.'

“It was outlandish … and actually, I would say very stupid, that he actually said that, because he revealed their aims.”