Independent Christian Voice

Monday

Hastert smears Murtha, then cries foul when smear used against him

From today's New York Times:
Representative J. Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, is taking issue with a political appeal sent out by Senator John Kerry, saying the senator falsely accused him of labeling Representative John P. Murtha a coward.

"Senator Kerry's comments used for campaign fund-raising purposes are simply over the top, extremely inappropriate and factually incorrect," said Ron Bonjean, a spokesman for Mr. Hastert, referring to a Nov. 18 e-mail message sent out to supporters of Mr. Kerry by his political committee.

But an adviser to Mr. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, said he was comfortable with his characterization of the speaker's reaction to a call by Mr. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The adviser, Jenny Backus, said Republicans were trying to regroup after early criticism of Mr. Murtha, a decorated Marine veteran, backfired. [...]

In the e-mail message to supporters the day after Mr. Murtha's announcement and a subsequent barrage of hostile Republican reaction, Mr. Kerry referred to his own experience. "You and I have to make it absolutely clear that we won't stand for Republican 'Swift Boat' style attacks on Jack Murtha," he said.

"Dennis Hastert - the speaker of the House who never served - accused Jack Murtha of being a coward," Mr. Kerry said as he listed Republican attacks on Mr. Murtha.

Here are the speaker's own words (as posted on his own blog):

“I am saddened by the comments made today by Rep. Murtha. It is clear that as Nancy Pelosi’s top lieutenant on armed services, Rep. Murtha and Democratic leaders have adopted a policy of cut and run. They would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the President is on foreign soil. [...]

“But now, Rep. Murtha and other Democrats want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world. [...]

We must not cower like European nations who are now fighting terrorists on their soil. [...]

“This is the highest insult to the brave men and women serving overseas."

No, he did not use the words, "Rep. Murtha is a coward." But no one doubted what he was implying. Only now, after the backlash against the smear campaign against Murtha, have all these Republicans so "outraged" at Murtha are now so defensive about their comments and are backtracking from their rhetoric in the immediate aftermath of the furor.

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