...by claiming she would lead the most accountable, open, honest, transparent congress in the history of the United States.
Then she decided to back her boy Jack Murtha for majority leader over the more obvious choice, Steny Hoyer.
It appears she may have to start splitting hairs sooner than I thought...
Murtha Lashes Out at Dem Leadership Opponent
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
WASHINGTON — The race to be the No. 2 House Democratic leader turned nasty Tuesday, with challenger Rep. John Murtha accusing opponents of "swift-boat style attacks" that hark back to his days being investigated in the FBI's 1980 Abscam sting.
Murtha won endorsement Monday from Nancy Pelosi, who is widely expected to be the House speaker. But Murtha is opposed by some liberals who say they are not happy with the Pennsylvania lawmaker's pro-gun and anti-abortion record. Others say Pelosi took a wrong turn in backing Murtha over her current deputy Rep. Steny Hoyer because Murtha's record is marred by ethics questions of the type Pelosi pledged to clean up in Congress.
"I am disconcerted that some are making headlines by resorting to unfounded allegations that occurred 26 years ago. I thought we were above this type of swift-boating attack. This is not how we restore integrity and civility to the United States Congress," Murtha said of the ample press coverage of his link to Abscam and more recent negotiations he made as ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Committee.
Murtha was not indicted in the bribes-for-political-favors probe and ultimately cleared of wrongdoing by the House ethics committee. But his raunchy language and open-ended option to consider a future deal with undercover FBI agents is forever captured on videotape.
The New York Times on Tuesday also reported that Murtha helped block changes in ethics policies that Democrats proposed last year and is known as "an astute backroom-deal maker known for trading votes for the pet projects known as earmarks. He has had family members who lobbied on issues under his control."
Murtha, a Vietnam veteran who last year proposed a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, tried to change the subject on Tuesday.
"Of the critical issues we are faced with today, the war in Iraq is the most crucial. The Pelosi-Murtha position on the war is the reason the Democrats are in the majority today. Congressman Hoyer's position has been to stay the course with President Bush from the very beginning and, like Senator John McCain, he advocates sending in more troops," Murtha said.
Hoyer is considered the favorite to win the majority leader race, having visited 82 congressional districts this past election cycle. He helped raise $8.2 million for the party's candidates in the months leading to the Nov. 7 election, earning him letters of support from more than half of the incoming lawmakers who won their seats last week.
After Murtha's statement, Hoyer's office shot back.
"Congressman Hoyer and Congressman Murtha have joined other Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate in signing three letters to the president that outline the consensus among Democrats regarding Iraq," said Stacey Farnen Bernards, Hoyer’s press secretary. "Any representation that Congressman Hoyer endorses a ‘stay-the-course’ strategy or advocates sending more troops to Iraq is wrong."
At a news conference Tuesday, Hoyer said he still expects to win the post, and despite Pelosi's anticipated endorsement of her friend Murtha, "Nancy Pelosi and I will work very closely together in the future. Why? Because both of us care about the objectives of our party."
Hoyer also has the backing of several members of the Progressive Caucus, who sent a letter Monday to their Democratic colleagues, urging support for Hoyer.
"As our Democratic Whip over the last four years, Steny has worked very well with Nancy and our entire leadership team, and their efforts have helped our caucus achieve greater unity than at any time in the last half century," reads the letter signed by Reps. Maxine Waters, Jerrold Nadler, Elijah Cummings, Jose Serrano, Jesse Jackson Jr. and Emanuel Cleaver.
The group pointed to Hoyer's support for hiking the federal minimum wage, enhancing human and civil rights and environmental protections, increasing education and health care funding and backing the Freedom of Choice Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade.
Three-term Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., said he backs Hoyer, but has not been pressured by Pelosi or others to change his mind and support Murtha instead.
"This is a Democratic Caucus that will be able to develop a consensus, and members will choose whoever they feel would be most representative of our caucus and its principles and values," Israel told FOX News.
Israel added that he doesn't think "the vast majority of the American people woke up this morning" thinking about who's going to be the Democratic leaders in the House. Instead, they are worried about Iraq and other issues, he said.
"I'm focusing my efforts and continuing to try and develop some common-sense, bipartisan solutions to the situation in Iraq, and, frankly, putting the politics and internal Democratic Caucus matters on the back burner where they belong," he said.
The infighting is not unexpected. Murtha and Pelosi have long been allies, while Pelosi and Hoyer have had a less cordial relationship, starting with her defeat of Hoyer in 2002 to become the minority leader following Dick Gephardt's departure from Congress.
Murtha announced last fall he intended to run for majority leader if Democrats won control of the House, a pre-election jab at Hoyer at a time the Marylander was pledging support for Pelosi.
Pelosi told Murtha to hold back, saying that she didn't want to divide the party while Democrats were trying to win the majority from Republicans after 12 years in the minority.
In her letter Monday, Pelosi began by noting that Murtha had requested her support. Noting his opposition to the war, she added, "Your leadership gave so many Americans, including respected military leaders, the encouragement to voice their own disapproval at a failed policy that weakens our military and makes stability in that region even more difficult to achieve."
Then there's this:
The Washington Times
The real Jack Murtha Published June 21, 2006
Rep. John Murtha is thinking big thoughts. Since coming out for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq last year, he has accused Marines of murder "in cold blood" before a preliminary investigation is even complete; accused the military of a cover up over the same incident; declared his candidacy for the House majority leadership post; and, most recently, refined his cut-and-run strategy in Iraq to mean "redeployment" to Okinawa, Japan.
That's quite a splash for such a veteran congressman, who a year ago had zero name recognition outside Washington. That he's made a name for himself now by slandering our troops and their mission deserves a brief recital of some other activities associated with Mr. Murtha.
Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported how the ranking member on the defense appropriations subcommittee has a brother, Robert Murtha, whose lobbying firm represents 10 companies that received more than $20 million from last year's defense spending bill. "Clients of the lobbying firm KSA Consulting -- whose top officials also include former congressional aide Carmen V. Scialabba, who worked for Rep. Murtha as a congressional aide for 27 years -- received a total of $20.8 million from the bill," the L.A. Times reported.
In early 2004, according to Roll Call, Mr. Murtha "reportedly leaned on U.S. Navy officials to sign a contract to transfer the Hunters Point Shipyard to the city of San Francisco." Laurence Pelosi, nephew of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, at the time was an executive of the company which owned the rights to the land. The same article also reported how Mr. Murtha has been behind millions of dollars worth of earmarks in defense appropriations bills that went to companies owned by the children of fellow Pennsylvania Democrat, Rep. Paul Kanjorski. Meanwhile, the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan campaign-finance watchdog group, lists Mr. Murtha as the top recipient of defense industry dollars in the current 2006 election cycle.
As Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, has said, "If there is a potential pattern where Congressman Murtha has helped other Democrats secure appropriations that also benefited relatives of those members, I believe this would be something that merits further review by the ethics committee."
It's odd that the media, which has been fairly unbiased in going after corrupt politicians recently, has gone silent on Mr. Murtha's questionable actions. Or maybe it isn't. Since December, Mr. Murtha has become the darling of the antiwar crowd, and, as we've seen with other such darlings, scrutinizing their behavior is considered disrespectful. But as we're on the subject, few might recall that after the massive 1980 Abscam scandal, Mr. Murtha was named by the FBI as an "unindicted co-conspirator."
Maybe the next time the new Jack Murtha thinks up another big idea someone can ask him about the old Jack Murtha.
Somehow I'm sure this doesn't sound the least hypocritical to anyone but me...