Spirited debate between a congressman and constituents? Or a congressman stepping over the line? We have the latest on a controversial video of Congressman Joe Walsh that's making the rounds online.
During a town hall meeting at Uno Bar and Grill in Gurnee over the weekend, Tea Party Republican Rep. Joe Walsh lost his cool when the topic of banks and the collapse of the economy arose. Watch the exchange in the following video:
On Wednesday, Walsh released the following statement in response to the video:
“As my constituents know, I am a very passionate person. I am passionate about our freedom, fighting for taxpayers, and standing up against big government. Constituents with opposing views have every right to argue with me, and I have every right to argue passionately for my conservative values. That¹s what freedom is all about. This debate is important and the fact that two people can discuss their differing opinions is what makes this country special.
“I have hosted a ‘Cup of Joe with Joe’ event every single weekend since I have been in office. I show up at coffee houses in the district and anyone can meet with me to discuss any issue. These are fun, engaging sessions, and I often meet with people who disagree with me and the conversation can become spirited. The woman I most recently had a heated discussion with was great and she appreciated how open these events are. I apologized to her for getting a bit too passionate to which she smiled and did not mind at all.
“Regarding the substance of which I was referring – I have never been a ‘pal of big banks’ and I would have voted against the bank bailout in 2009. If banks abuse their charters, they should be prosecuted. But banks are not all to blame for this mess – government policy that advocated for every American to become a homeowner is at fault for this disaster. To allow and encourage Freddie and Fannie to approve loans to people with no credit history and no money down was a disaster waiting to happen. Despite some Republicans attempts to enact reform, Democrats, like Barney Frank, killed any attempt at reform. The banks followed the rules set forth by the government, and further meddling by the government will only exasperate the problem.
“I have held over 80 town hall meetings and ‘Cup of Joe with Joe’ events since taking office. I hold these because I welcome this open discussion and will continue to keep this direct line of contact with those who I proudly represent.”
What do you think? Did Congressman Joe Walsh do anything wrong in his recent town hall meeting? Post your comments below or sound off on our discussion board!