Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) refused to apologize again Thursday for his attacks on his Democratic challenger, an Iraq war vet he accused of not being a “true hero.”
"I'm not going to back out of anything," Walsh said to CNN's Ashleigh Banfield. "No, Ashleigh, this wasn't a slip-up. I don't regret anything I said. Understand me, every man and woman who's worn the uniform is a hero in my book. I've said that thousands of times. I've called Tammy Duckworth a hero hundreds of times. This is a manufactured issue."
The interview quickly turned into a debate, with Walsh and Banfield heatedly talking over one another about Walsh's stance on whether military veterans should talk about their service.
In a town hall video posted Tuesday by ThinkProgress, Walsh questioned whether House candidate Tammy Duckworth is a “true hero” because she is constantly talking about her experiences serving in Iraq.
“Now I’m running against a woman who — I mean my God, that’s all she talks about,” Walsh said. “Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about. That’s why we are so indebted and in awe of what they have done.”
Duckworth was one of the first women to fly combat missions in Iraq and lost both of her legs when her helicopter was hit by an RPG in 2004. She was awarded a Purple Heart.
Walsh compared Duckworth unfavorably to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 GOP presidential candidate, whom he said did not want to talk about his military record on the trail.