Democratic stalwart John Murtha just can’t give himself a break. The 17-term congressman first insulted his constituents by saying, “There’s no question Western Pennsylvania is a racist area,” in a newspaper interview, Politico recalls. Then, as his opponent gained traction in polls, Murtha apologized, but added, “This whole area, years ago, was really redneck.” Now he finds himself in a race for his political life.
The first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress, Murtha is known for larding his rural district with federal pork-barrel dollars, and for decades cruised to reelection. In 2005, he gained some national notoriety for publicly turning against the Iraq war, but still won reelection with 61%. Now he has just a 5% margin over a virtually unknown veteran of the Iraq war, and even SNL is having fun at his expense.