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Bustos, Schilling

Cheri Bustos, Bobby Schilling

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said Wednesday that she made a mistake two years ago by saying she'd cut her own pay if elected, but added that she is trustworthy and, in the end, what's really important is getting results.

Bustos, who met with the Quad-City Times editorial board Wednesday, has been hammered by Republican opponent Bobby Schilling for comments she made during a 2012 Chicago Tribune interview in which she said she talked about a campaign pledge to back legislation to cut lawmaker's pay.

When asked in the interview whether she'd cut her own pay, even without the legislation, she said she would.

The Schilling campaign released a new television ad Wednesday criticizing Bustos on the issue.

Bustos' campaign already has said that she misspoke, and the congresswoman said Wednesday she hadn't discussed the matter with her husband — and it's not the kind of promise that should be made without doing so.

"It was a vigorous back and forth, and I said something I shouldn't have said," Bustos said. "You don't make decisions like that without talking to your husband about it or anything else."

Bustos said she did not intend to follow through on the matter, because "my pledge to the residents and the citizens of this district" was that she'd support legislation to cut lawmaker pay. "I did support that legislation," she said.

The congresswoman also defended her reputation in the face of criticism over the matter. She said, in the end, what matters most is getting results in the job, and that she's done that.

"I work very hard. My word is good, and I have taken very, very seriously my reputation, my family's reputation. I made a mistake. I'm sitting her telling you I make a mistake. I should not have said that," Bustos said.

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Editorial Page Editor