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Murtha dead at 77: Reaction

Updated 5:44 p.m.
Pennsylvania Democrat John P. Murtha died Monday at age 77 of complications from gallbladder surgery. Reaction is pouring is from colleagues and friends of the 19-term congressman.

Statement from President Obama:

Michelle and I were deeply saddened today to hear about the passing of Congressman John Murtha. Jack was a devoted husband, a loving father and a steadfast advocate for the people of Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years. His passion for service was born during his decorated career in the United States Marine Corps, and he went on to earn the distinction of being the first Vietnam War combat veteran elected to Congress. Jack's tough-as-nails reputation carried over to Congress, where he became a respected voice on issues of national security. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife of nearly 55 years, Joyce, their three children, and the entire Murtha family.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):

Today, with the passing of Jack Murtha, America lost a great patriot. He served our country on the battlefield winning two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. He served his country in his community winning the hearts of his constituents and served in the Congress winning the respect of his colleagues.

On Saturday, he became the longest-serving Member of Congress from Pennsylvania, and one of the most distinguished. He is well-recognized as a champion of our national security; always putting the troops and their families first. He quietly and regularly visited our men and women serving our country who were injured to assess their needs and offer them thanks and encouragement. As proud Marine, he was always Semper Fi!

The nation saw his courage writ large when he spoke out against the military engagement in Iraq - winning him the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Jack was also a hero in advancing scientific research to fight breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. He measured the strength of our country by our military might and also by the well-being of the American people.

San Francisco lost a good friend in Jack Murtha. His leadership as Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee was essential in turning the Presidio from post to park.

Dedicated to God and Country, and devoted to Joyce and their family, Jack Murtha was a giant. All who served with him were honored to call him colleague. I was privileged to call him friend.

I hope that is a comfort to Joyce; their children, Donna Sue, John and Patrick; and their grandchildren that so many people mourn their loss and are praying for them at this very sad time.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.):

I am deeply saddened to lose my dear friend and colleague Jack Murtha. He was a public servant in every sense of the word and his passing is a great loss to all of Pennsylvania. Joan and my thoughts are with his wife, Joyce, and their children.

Rep. Jerry Lewis (Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee:

Words cannot describe the loss my wife Arlene and I feel for my dear friend, Jack Murtha. Jack and I served together for over 30 years, and I have never seen a more valiant defender of the men and women of our armed forces, nor a more steadfast advocate for our country's unequaled national defense. Jack was a true patriot, and the Congress will be a much lesser place without him. His passing is truly a cause for great sadness, and our hearts go out his family, and his second family - his Congressional staff and the Members and staff of the Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee:

Jack Murtha was the first Vietnam veteran to serve in Congress and he was incredibly effective in his service in the House. He understood the misery of war. Every person who serves in the military has lost an advocate and a good friend today. My wife Joan and I extend our sympathy and prayers to his wife Joyce, and the entire Murtha family.

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D), the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation:

I am saddened to learn of the death of Jack Murtha, a man that I have known for the last 34 years.

While Jack was always known as a military hawk, he became a leading voice in the effort to bring an end to the war in Iraq and it is in no small part due to his work in this area that America is now on track to removing all combat troops from that country by this summer.

My thoughts go out to his wife Joyce and the rest of the Murtha family.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.):

With the passing of Congressman Jack Murtha, America has lost a patriotic veteran, Pennsylvanians have lost a tireless advocate, and we have lost a friend.

Congressman Murtha dedicated his life to serving the nation he loved. As a Marine who wore the uniform for 37 years, Congressman Murtha courageously fought in Vietnam. As Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Congressman Murtha worked to ensure that our men and women in uniform and their families had the support and resources they deserve.

In 2005, Congressman Murtha inspired a new generation by taking up the fight to end the Iraq War. His leadership will be missed, but his place in history is secured as the first combat veteran of the Vietnam War elected to Congress. Three days ago on February 5th, 2010, he became the longest serving Member of Congress in the history of Pennsylvania.

On behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, I extend my deepest condolences to Congressman Murtha's wife Joyce, their children, their grandchildren, and his constituents in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District. I hope it is of some comfort that the thoughts and prayers of so many are with them at this difficult time.

Statement from Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine:

Today we mourn the loss of a great American figure who dedicated his life to serving his country both in the military and in the halls of Congress. Congressman Murtha had a storied 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps and in 1974 he became the first Vietnam War combat veteran elected to Congress.

Just the other day, Congressman Murtha became the longest serving Pennsylvanian in the history of the House of Representatives. During his career, he worked hard to bring tens of thousands of middle class jobs to western Pennsylvania. His legacy as a fighter for his causes and his constituents will be remembered long after his passing.

Our thoughts and prayers today are with the Congressman's wife, his children and his grandchildren.

Read more about Murtha:
• Post coverage of Murtha's life and record.
• on why he mattered.
• The Fix: Special election to follow.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 8, 2010; 4:18 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing  
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Next: Norm Dicks in line to follow Murtha on defense panel


Shakespeare "The evil that men do, lives after them, the good is often interred with their bones."

To his family and friends I extend my sincere condolences.

Posted by: Victoria5 | February 9, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I have $100 that every single person who has made a public statement about Murtha's loss are also saying to themselves, "Thank God he is no longer in Congress anymore."

He was "Duke" Cunningham without the "price list" and the prison term.

Posted by: singleseatbiggermeat | February 9, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

On less corrupt democrat in congress.

Posted by: LarryG62 | February 9, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

good riddance

Posted by: obblehit | February 9, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Is he going to be buried in a pork barrel?

Posted by: wapitiman | February 9, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that you one-way ultra conservatives paint every veteran who disagrees with you about ANYTHING related to combat situations in ANY war as a traitor???

You guys are the same people who called Eric Shinseki a traitor back when Iraq was heating up because he said, as did some other generals with any backbone, that we needed many more boots on the ground. You then attacked Max Cleland, John Kerry, Jack Murtha and so many more current or former military men who spoke the truth as they saw it.

Isn't that what this country is supposed to be all about?

Frankly, I suspect most of you are not veterans yourselves, or, if you were, your experience was considerably different than Murtha's. Or, maybe, your dogma has gotten in the way of reason.

I find it oddly ironic as one whose older brother (Korea), husband (Vietnam), brother in law (Vietnam) and son (Iraq) are all veterans who KNOW that legally, there are orders occasionally given that should never be obeyed because they are ILLEGAL.

The haze of combat can be terrible, and mistakes of judgement can and do happen. Unfortunately, it is usually the unfortunate private who pays the price. Ignoring this possibility or assuming "all is OK because, after all, we're Americans and it's war," would lead us down a very slippery, dark slope indeed.

Shame on all of you. Have you no respect for anyone who has served this country but doesn't agree with you???

Posted by: onesharpmama | February 9, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

Too long in office where he created a nest. This is not what our founding fathers wanted.
Let's have a few more long termers die, please.

Posted by: jporter1 | February 9, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

(This post went up on this thread -- then mysteriously disappeared, only to appear on a totally unrelated thread about Latino Americans. So who's tampering with the internet -- again -- and why should THIS comment warrant such apparent sabotage?)


Murtha's family should hire a private investigator to probe whether operatives affiliated with ideologically-oriented entities may have infiltrated the health care system with the express purpose of compromising the congressman's care.

Here's why:

OR (see "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 8, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy and Murtha. Its a bad year for crooks. A few more kick the bucket and we'll be in good shape.

Posted by: amfast | February 8, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

They didn't even wait for Murtha's body to get cold. On this afternoon just after AP broke the news:

John Murtha Has Died
AP Posted on Mon 08 Feb 2010 02:42:50 PM EST

Too bad.
So sad.
Now to go and do my happy dance.

posted on Mon 08 Feb 2010 02:43:48 PM EST by Petruchio

58 seconds. Congratulations conservos, you win the race to the bottom. Remember your frothing outrage just a couple of days ago revolving around liberals treating you with a condescending attitude? This is the kind of collective bs you pull that make it so deserved.

Posted by: washpost18 | February 8, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord !! After reading all the blogs plus what our "leaders" have said...Murtha was a bigger scum-bag than I realized. We Americans are so screwed and there is nothing we can do, except vent our feelings. Forgive me, please, it's just the way politicians have made me so bitter.

Posted by: henart73 | February 8, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, thank you Republicans for revealing the utterly disrespectful atttudes you have about anyone who disagrees with you. And you call yourself Americans?!!! You people whose eyes fill with tears at the sounding of the national anthem? Only to trash a man who gave his life in the service of his country! Just like you!
You Republicans have become so narrow in every single thing that you don't have it in your hearts anymore to offer the most simple, decent condolence to a man who served his country in the best way he knew how.
It is all about YOU, and YOUR political leanings. There is not a one of you who remains decent.

Posted by: cms1 | February 8, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Good grief.
You would think Jack Murtha sent our military into Iraq and is responsible for the death of thousands of our soldiers.
Or maybe he's responsible for not having prevented our soldiers from being sent into Iraq.

Posted by: edlharris | February 8, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

So,once again WAPO and Silly Crissy are going to delete any negative post,that dares to tell the truth about the death of
the biggest lowlife,most corrupt,total disgrace to the US Marine Corps,and biggest most corrupt Democrat after Speaker
Nancy Pelosi in the Congress,dirtbag Jack
Murtha! You Bet Rot In Hell Murtha! And WAPO and Silly Crissy Wimpy go to Hell as
well you Obama Shill Loser!

Posted by: carleen09 | February 8, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

This man was as crooked as the day is long. It absolutely disgusts me that when politicians such as Murtha die all is forgiven - by other politicians. The American people will NEVER forgive this traitor. He turned against the US military and will never be forgiven for that - along with hundreds of other disgusting episodes! He ruined the lives of those who "dared" to cross him. This country doesn't need crooked backroom politicians like Murtha!

Posted by: georges2 | February 8, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to this low life piece of trash. May he rot in hades!

Posted by: bnichols6 | February 8, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to this low life piece of trash. May he rot in hades!

Posted by: bnichols6 | February 8, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to this low life piece of trash. May he rot in hades!

Posted by: bnichols6 | February 8, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Do you God Bless Alaska like Sarah Palin,
God Bless America like everyone else?
Just askin'.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | February 8, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Did Jack Murtha ever APOLOGIZE TO THE U.S. MARINES that he accused of murder saying "They killed innocent civilians in cold blood. "? Hmmm? Well, did he?

Posted by: screwjob11

Umm, what did they do?
Commit suicide?
Or did they fake their deaths?
Or is it because they are Iraqis, their lives aren't worth a damn?

Stupid hypocrite.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | February 8, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

you people are pure scumbags

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | February 8, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to this vicious, unrepentant slanderer.

Posted by: GodBless1 | February 8, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance. Corrupt old fool. Wasted taxpayer dollars on his ego-driven "airport".

Undermined US Miltary morale more than even the phoney "hero" kerry. Refused to release his military records, just as kerry has always refused to do so.

Very happy he is gone.

Posted by: WileyCoyote | February 8, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Did Jack Murtha ever APOLOGIZE TO THE U.S. MARINES that he accused of murder saying "They killed innocent civilians in cold blood. "? Hmmm? Well, did he?

Posted by: screwjob11 | February 8, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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