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Walsh has made a number of contentious comments since winning an upset victory in his suburban Chicago district in 2010 as part of a Republican surge in Illinois. His video lecture of President Barack Obama for spending like “a drunken sailor” helped make him a rising tea-party star.
But he faces a tough re-election fight against Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, in a diverse district redrawn by Democrats last year to favor their party. More than 12 percent of the people living in Illinois’ 8th Congressional District are Asian and 22 percent are Hispanic.
His latest statements were videotaped by an anti-tea party group at one of Walsh’s regular town hall meetings. The video shows the congressman appearing to get agitated as he shouts about all the people who “want handouts” and the Democrats’ plan to create even more government dependency.
“That’s their game,” he told an audience of a few dozen before making the remarks about blacks, Hispanics and Jackson.
On Thursday, Jackson told The Associated Press that Walsh’s comments were nothing more than a political tactic designed to “incite and polarize.” Jackson said his life’s work has been to “gain for all vulnerable Americans equal protection under the law.”
Further, he said, Walsh ignores the fact that the majority of people receiving government aid are not black and that the congressman is demonstrating a bias against the poor in favor of the wealthy.
“For the rich, it’s called a subsidy. For the poor, it is welfare,” Jackson said.
Duckworth suggested in a statement that Walsh’s comments were the latest in a growing list of racially insensitive statements.
“Congressman Walsh’s remarks are not only offensive, they are especially irresponsible coming from a sitting member of Congress,” she said.