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Weasel Murtha turns to weasel Clinton

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 3, 2008 06:30 AM

I said it before. I’ll say it again. John Murtha is running scared. Truly a sign of desperation:

U.S. Rep John Murtha will be joined by former President BIll Clinton at the University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown Monday for a “Get out the Vote” rally.

Doors will be open to the public at 2:30 p.m. at the university’s sports center at 450 Schoolhouse Road. The event is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m.

The event will focus on Murtha’s leadership, experience and continued fight on behalf of the people of western Pennsylvania, according to a campaign press release.

“It’s the day before our country re-elect’s Jack Murtha and elects Barack Obama to represent them,” Matthew Mazonkey, Murtha’s spokesman said.

Clinton made stops in Johnstown and Somerset while his wife, Hillary, was running for the Democratic Presidential nomination. When Clinton ran for his first term in 1992, he visited the sports center.

“We’re excited he’s coming back to Johnstown, to the same location 16 years later,” Mazonkey said.

The event is open to the public. While tickets are not required, Murtha’s campaign asks people to RSVP by calling 1-866-831-8264.

Another sign of desperation. This is called projection:

Local business leaders rallied behind U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, on Sunday in response to recent statements made by his opponent about local workers’ skills and qualifications.

But a spokeswoman for Murtha’s opponent, Republican William Russell, said the 12th district candidate’s comments were taken out of context.

At a press conference held at Murtha’s office on Main Street, Murtha accused Russell of insulting hardworking western Pennsylvania workers.

In a story published Saturday in an Altoona newspaper, Russell accused Murtha of trying to make the region dependent on the veteran congressman for industry. Russell said jobs should be based on local, natural resources, not on earmarks from Washington.

Russell used Johnstown’s National Drug Intelligence Center as an example.

“Most of those jobs aren’t for people in the area,” Russell was quoted in the article. “When you look at the skill sets, they aren’t necessarily developed for the manufacturing base here.”

Murtha said Sunday that Russell’s statement bashed the quality of the local work force.

The king of congressional smear merchants has some nerve attacking anyone else over “insults.”

It’s still an uphill battle for Bill Russell, but things are looking bright, as I’ve been reporting. Russell is optimistic:

Republican Congressional candidate Bill Russell knows predicting victory will likely jinx his chances.

But because he said he already predicted victory to a supporter a few days ago, he figured it wouldn’t hurt if he did so again to PolitickerPA.com.

“We’re going to win by 4 points,” Russell said, shortly after his mid-day rally next to a Days Inn. “If that’s a jinxing move, it’s already happened.”

Predicting victory against 34-year incumbent U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D-Johnstown) would have been met with laughs and eye-rolls two months ago, even from dedicated Republicans. Russell’s own campaign, although dedicated, knew toppling the western Pennsylvania institution would take a political miracle.

But perception of this race has changed dramatically the past month. A poll commissioned in late October by The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review showed the congressman leading by fewer than 5 points. A week earlier Murtha made his now in-famous remarks to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board, calling his western Pennsylvania district a “racist area.” He later called them “rednecks” during a botched apology.

Murtha’s comments were the first time it seemed he might not coast to his 15th term. The DCCC and NRCC both soon reacted — each has bought nearly a half-million dollars worth of ads in the 12th Congressional District.

But for Peg Luksik, Russell’s campaign manager, the realization came a month earlier. The campaign had commissioned an internal poll to see which issues Russell should focus on.

It showed Murtha’s support below 50 percent, a worrying sign for a long-term incumbent whose opponent was still barely known.

Boot Murtha.

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