The Plank

Murtha In The Middle

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For those who still regret Murtha's loss of the speakership at Hoyer's hands, he seems to be starting to flunk his first big test of what he could have delivered in that role -- the supplemental budget bill. His proposed conditions to Bush's war funding have not disarmed the criticisms that Democrats are abandoning the troops, which was supposed to be their entire function; Politico is against him; and Walter Jones, the House's top anti-surge Republican, blames him for alienating wavering Republicans, a group the Democratic leadership's Iraq strategy was expressly designed to entice:

But Representative Walter B. Jones, a North Carolina Republican who backed the resolution, said Mr. Murtha's interview [with MoveCongress.org] had scared some Republicans who were against the troop increase. Republican leaders seized on the interview, Mr. Jones said, and used it to hold the line. "If he had made his comments after the [nonbinding resolution] vote, we could have picked up five to eight more Republicans," Mr. Jones said.

Meanwhile, I bet Hoyer's still blushing from yesterday's Post love letter. The last shan't be first, I guess.

--Eve Fairbanks

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