Here are some of the highlights from Walsh’s interview with WTTW’s Eddie Arruza.
On the debt ceiling crisis:
The Republicans have changed the debate. Am I satisfied with what we did on that debt ceiling crisis? No. But when you take a broader view, thank God we’re here.
We’re bankrupting future generations. Both parties have done this. This president’s taken it to a new frightening level, and we’ve done a pretty decent job of getting people to understand that.
The Democrats set about to spend money recklessly every day. They sent people like me to Congress to stop it. I think the American people understand that. I think they’re beyond your profession. I think they’re past where a lot of politicians in D.C. are.
On Congress’s inability to work together:
It’s an interesting time to be in Washington. We’ve got a major battle between two mindsets. The president genuinely believes what he believes in. We House Republicans believe something very different.
I’m one of these freshmen who believes I’m on a mission, to stop this president and save future generations. It’s often been difficult to work with my leadership. I don’t vote with my leadership often. There are 87 Republican freshman in Washington. Only one is there without any party support. It’s almost liberating to be in the position I’m in.
On the Tea Party movement:
The American people sent us here to be bold. They sent us here to make some tough decisions. I firmly believe the American people were with us. They know we can’t spend money like this.
If you added up every concerned angry or frightened American about how much the government is spending, that’s the Tea Party movement.
I truly believe this country is going through a revolution now. We’re having a debate on the fundamentals.
On President Obama:
John Boehner and the leadership are dealing with a president who is absolutely in over his head. His policies are destroying what makes this country great.
I think the president is so cloistered. Just the very notion of him coming out next month to present a jobs plan. Again, where’s he been for three years. He surrounds himself with academics. I think it would do him so good to come into a congressional district and talk to small businessmen and women who are suffering under his policies.
On Republicans’ responsibility for the national debt:
George W. Bush raised the debt $4 trillion in eight years. He spent too much money. Barack Obama has already raised the debt $4 trillion in two-and-a-half years. You can see a different level. Republicans have gotten to this point with Democrats.
On his ex-wife’s child support claim and his financial problem:
I am going to fight it. I can’t right now. Anything I say can be used against me, so I’ve got to be very careful. It’s an injustice. I’m going to fight it. I have been nothing but a devoted, loving supportive father my entire life. Anybody who accuses me otherwise, I am going to fight.
In many ways, I had no business running for Congress. I had struggled financially. My life was a mess. But I felt so compelled to play a role in stopping what this president was doing. I’m like so many of the rest of us. I’ve struggle. I lost a home to foreclosure.
On how his views on abortion have changed since his first run for Congress:
The primary difference between 1996 and now is I was pro-choice, and when you are pro-choice, you are identified as a moderate Republican. I went through a 5 to 6 year journey and in the year 2003, I became pro-life without exception.
On Obama and Israel:
In my lifetime, this is the first president we’ve had who is no Israel. He’s put conditions on Israel from Day One, and hasn’t done the same to the Palestinians. He’s been extremely critical of Israel. You look at what he said about settlements, about going back to the ’67 borders. I think he looks at the Palestinians as victims and he looks at the Israelis as occupiers. I believe his sympathies are with the Palestinians. This other side will never come around. They only respond to strength, and we need to demand they acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
On his political future:
What the Democrats have done with this remap is an outrage. They’ve tried to overturn an election, and we’ve got to fight it legally. I’m on a mission, and so I do believe I’m going to run somewhere. I just don’t know yet. I’m in a funny spot. I live in what would be the new 14th, my district is office is the new 10th, and my hometown is in the new 6th. I do know I’m going to run somewhere. I will run wherever I believe it is best for me to continue to spread this message.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!