How do you handle a potentially career-threatening crisis? If you're Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., the answer is by playing aggressive offense.
Walsh got hit last week by reports that he owes big bucks to a former wife for unpaid child support. Instead of hunkering down, Walsh is taking his case -- both for himself and against the Chicago Sun-Times -- to his constituents. In the first of a series of town hall meetings he plans over the next few weeks, Walsh on Thursday came right out and addressed the story.
"After I won last year, my ex-wife filed a lawsuit against me," Walsh told his audience, according to the Northwest Herald. "For the past eight months I have been trying to work it out privately and legally and haven't been able to."
The Libertyville Patch adds a few more quotes: "It's an ongoing legal proceeding that involves my kids. ... This is something I'm going to fight, but I'm going to do it privately and legally. There is no way the media will get me to talk about my three kids. I won't do it!"
Walsh was one of the biggest surprise winners in 2010, knocking off then-Rep. Melissa Bean in a suburban Chicago district. He's squarely in the sights of Illinois Democrats, who drew him out of his current district. The new 8th District leans heavily Democratic, but if he runs in the 14th District, where he now lives, he'll face a GOP primary against fellow freshman Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill.
But if his response to the story says anything, it's that he's not going down without a fight.