Duckworth highlights war experience in speech to DNC

September 4, 2012

Tammy Duckworth spent much of her address to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday evening, touting her experience in the National Guard as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot.

Duckworth is running for Congress in Illinois' 8th district against Republican incumbent Joe Walsh, in a Congressional race that is being widely viewed by political observers as one of the most competitive in the country.

In her scripted remarks, presented on stage with the Governor of Rhode Island and the assistant Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Duckworth talked about her experience being shot down by enemy fire while flying in Iraq.

"A rocket-propelled grenade hit our helicopter, exploding in my lap, ripping off one leg, crushing the other and tearing my right arm apart," she told the crowd. "But I kept trying to fly until I passed out."

Duckworth also highlighted her experience at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and later at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under President Barack Obama.

She also criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for not mentioning the word "Afghanistan" during his speech to the Republican National Convention.

Meanwhile, Duckworth's Republican Congressional opponent, U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, criticized Duckworth for "being a political celebrity," which "comes at the expense of listening to voter's concerns and addressing the issues that matter most," the campaign said in an email to supporters.

His comments come after Walsh skipped last week's Republican National Convention. Walsh's fellow Illinois Republicans defended his decision not to attend the event, saying it was a good decision so he could continue campaigning in his district.

The Walsh campaign's email to supporters also takes a dig at the newly drawn boundaries of Illinois' 8th Congressional district. Since Democrats are in the majority and the governor's office at the state level, they controlled the legislative redistricting process.