Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), facing a multitude of criticism for saying his Democratic opponent talks too much about losing her legs in Iraq, said Friday he "absolutely" considers Tammy Duckworth a hero but that her sacrifice "doesn't demand our vote."
Walsh -- a Tea Party favorite -- made his initial comments about Duckworth's service during a July 1 town hall, saying of her injuries, "My God, that's all she talks about" and charging that "true heroes" don't talk about their service.
"In my book any man or woman who wears a uniform is a hero," Walsh said on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" with guest host Laura Ingraham. "I've said that about Tammy countless times."
Walsh claimed White House strategist David Axelrod and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are "running" Duckworth's campaign and "tape every word" Walsh says, hoping to catch him in an outrageous moment.
"You give [Duckworth] enough respect, you treat her like any other candidate," Walsh said. “We can’t afford to elect anybody this year based just on their bio. Her background deserves and demands our respect, but it doesn’t demand our vote. For that, we’ve got to know what we think you’re going to do when it comes to the issues in this country, and for some reason, she doesn’t talk about those things.”
Pointing out Duckworth has called the Tea Party "loudmouths" in the past, Walsh said she's "insulting everybody in this country who believes in limited government and freedom, and I just don't think that's going to play in this district or any district."
Calling Duckworth "the White House's candidate," Walsh said he believes he's the administration's No. 1 target for defeat because he's been so outspoken about President Barack Obama.
"They're throwing everything at me, including this stuff," Walsh said. "I've got to tell you again, she is a hero and I've said that hundreds of times."
"She's a war hero with whom you disagree," Ingraham summed up.
Watch below, via Fox News: