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TODAY   |  June 27, 2013

Tammy Duckworth shames man about claimed war wound

Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth, the first disabled woman veteran elected to Congress, cited her own injuries in Iraq — two lost legs — as she scolded a man who applied for a federal contract as a wounded veteran by citing a football injury while at a military prep school. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>> incident on capitol hill that will have a lot of people talking. a congresswoman who's an iraq war veteran ripping into a witness during a hearing. nbc's capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell has more. kelly , good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. she is a new member of congress with credibility that comes from her own sacrifice. so when a businessman, who had claimed a military injury in order to get a special advantage for veterans to get a federal contract came up, it turned into an eight-minute interrogation.

>> you know, this hearing is very troubling to me.

>> reporter: this extraordinary exchange began with a simple, but scornful question.

>> so your foot hurt? your left foot?

>> yes, ma'am.

>> it hurts. my feet hurt, too.

>> reporter: the contempt was palatable.

>> you broke the trust of veterans.

>> reporter: illinois democrat tammy duckworth is the first disabled woman veteran elected to congress.

>> did you injure that same foot again subsequently in the year since you twisted it in prep school ?

>> not to my recollection.

>> reporter: a former army helicopter pilot, who lost both legs serving in iraq. the congresswoman aimed her disdain at irs contractor castillo who applied for a federal contract as a wounded veteran by citing a football injury while at a military prep school in 1984 .

>> i went to a doctor and it continued to hurt.

>> reporter: castillo had also stated in a letter to officials these are crosses that i bear due to my service to our great country. i would do it again to protect this great country. castillo told the house committee that his company never received any improper, preferential treatment.

>> i am so glad you would be willing to play football in prep school again to protect this great country. shame on you, mr. castillo. shame on you.

>> reporter: disrespect, she says, is another kind of wound for injured veterans. and this came up as congress has continued to look at the irs . this man got an irs contract and it was an emotional moment because tammy duckworth also talked about the phantom pain she experiences as an amputee. it was riveting and certainly got a lot of attention. savannah, matt?

>> all right. thank you, kelly o'donnell on capitol hill for us. i'm sure that was a memorable moment for him.

>> that is an afternoon he'll never forget, no question about