Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) is in an unexpectedly tight race for an 18th term after effectively calling the constituents of his southwestern Pennsylvania district racists and rednecks.
Earlier this month, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board that “there’s no question Western Pennsylvania is a racist area” in response to a question about Barack Obama’s prospects in his district. A week after apologizing, he told a local Pittsburgh TV station that “this whole area, years ago, was really redneck.”
Both comments were captured on videotape, and replayed constantly on local and cable news. Even “Saturday Night Live” got in the act, airing a parody of Murtha at a rally with a Joe Biden character making offensive comments.
Though Murtha, the influential chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, has brought back $160 million in earmarks to his economically struggling district in the southwest of the state so far t