Ill. congressman defends plan to skip Obama speech

September 3, 2011 - 12:40 PM

PALATINE, Ill. (AP) — An outspoken Republican congressman from Illinois is defending his decision to boycott President Barack Obama's jobs speech next week.

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh said Saturday that Obama is abusing his power as president by calling a joint session of Congress for the address. Walsh said at a meeting of Republicans in his northeastern Illinois district that such a move should be reserved for "momentous" topics like war, not what he called a political speech.

Walsh had said earlier in the week that he would not attend. He said he will still read Obama's speech and comment afterward, and he plans to host a forum with business owners in his district.

The congressman drew attention during the debate over the debt ceiling, accusing Obama of spending money "like a drunken sailor."