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Walsh speaks at DuPage Tea Party meeting

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh R-8th McHenry speaks Jan. 12 DuPage TeParty meeting. | Chuck Fieldman~Sun-Times Media

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-8th of McHenry, speaks Jan. 12 to the DuPage Tea Party meeting. | Chuck Fieldman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 20, 2012 8:20AM

The first snowstorm of the season didn’t prevent about 100 people from showing up to listen to controversial U.S. Joe Walsh, R-8th of McHenry, speak at a meeting of the DuPage Tea Party Jan. 12 at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien.

Walsh said he spent about 2 1/2 hours driving to Darien from McHenry, after being invited to speak to the Dupage Tea Party by Claire Van Horn, a Darien resident who is founder of the group.

“I think Joe Walsh is out of this world,” Van Horn said. “He stands up for his beliefs in the Constitution, and I like the way he handles himself and has voted in Congress. We met him at a conference and asked him if he would come and speak to us.”

Walsh, who said he is “a Tea Party conservative first and a member of the Republican Party second,” focused his talk on the importance of voting Republican in the November presidential election, regardless of who is chosen to be the party’s nominee.

“I’m angry at the Republicans and the Democrats who have put us on a path that is going to bankrupt our kids and our grandkids,” he said. “We now have a government we can’t afford, and shame on us for letting it get that way.

“My Republican establishment can’t stand me, but the Republicans are the only game in town right now. I don’t care who the Republican nominee is. Every day this guy (President Obama) is in the White House, he’s destroying what makes this country great. We need to respectfully remove him from the White House. Stay strong, stay passionate, but stay in the fight.”

While Walsh urged those in attendance at the DuPage Tea Party meeting to vote Republican, he also told the audience the importance of getting more elected officials into Congress who share Tea Party views.

“I’m one of 22 Republicans who voted no every single time this year,” he said. “We need to double that number. Our Republican Party lost its way, and we have to get our party back.

“We’re losing America, and if you send typical Republicans to Washington, we’re not going to get it back. If the Republican Party drops the ball, there’s going to be rioting in the streets. Be as hard on us as you can be.”

Walsh steered off the path of talking about the presidential election and Congress to take a shot at Gov. Pat Quinn.

“This governor, Gov. Quinn, is a tool,” he said. “This state is an embarrassment. People are leaving in droves because of taxes and regulations. One man runs this state, and it’s not Gov. Quinn; it’s (House Speaker) Mike Madigan.”

Walsh said he would not endorse a presidential candidate to those at the DuPage Tea Party meeting. And Van Horn said the group wouldn’t be making any endorsements, although it plans to host upcoming candidate forums.

“We’re not endorsing because we’re not prepared to do that at this point,” she said. “We are inviting candidates to come and tell us why we should vote for them. We want them to talk about themselves and not about their opponents.”

The DuPage Tea Party formed June 24, 2010, Van Horn said, and is in the process of thinking about what its ultimate goals will be.

“This is part-time for us,” she said. “I wish we were more on top of things, but we’re still learning.”

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