Tonight (Friday, May 11, 2012) CLTV hosted a televised debate between Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, running in the newly reconfigured 8th congressional district, and Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth. Seated at a small table, the contrast between the two candidates was sharp: Walsh eshewed any theatrics and looked the thoughtful conservative statesman that he can be at his best; Duckworth repeated and tried to defend a short list of Democratic talking points – that never seemed quite to the point.

About halfway through the hour long debate, Walsh pressed Duckworth, who has spent the last few years as part of the Obama veteran’s administration, on budget solutions. She had a hard time addressing the issues in depth and was backed into a corner. She attacked Congressman Walsh for voting three times for the Ryan budget, stating, “There has not been a crackpot Tea Party idea that he has not embraced.”

Challenged for using that language by the Chicago Tribune moderator (Rick Pearson) and Walsh, Duckworth replied, “Absolutely. . . Why would you endorse giving millionaires and billionaires tax breaks on the back of seniors and the most vulnerable.”

Walsh then rephrased his question, “Are the constituents in the 8th District crackpots?”

Duckworth replied, “The Republican budget is extremist.”

Walsh continued to press her, saying, “The constituents in the 8th District, many of whom subscribe to the Tea Party philosophy that our government is too big and we’re losing freedoms every day; are those ideas crackpot?”

Duckworth stated, “The schemes they are coming up with in the name of the Tea Party are crackpot.”

It just might be that it’s the Tea Party candidate (Walsh) who has the pulse of the 8th district. If the national Dems want to add a seat in the House, Mrs. Duckworth needs to up her game.