Murtha is the 73-year-old recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for combat duty in Vietnam. He is a Democrat whose three decades in office are marked by support of President Reagan’s policies in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Murtha was a top Democratic supporter of the 1991 Gulf War. He wants a constitutional ban on burning the American flag.

In a 2002 press briefing, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz termed the support of politicians like Murtha for the Pentagon as “wonderful.” In the 2004 vice presidential debate, incumbent Dick Cheney said, “One of my strongest allies in Congress when I was secretary of defense was Jack Murtha.”

Murtha clobbered Cheney’s words the next day, saying, “I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.”

This hawk still soars, above the scrounging chicken hawks. ~Derrick Jackson, The Boston Globe

“A group of us Republicans changed registration to vote for him and then switched right back,” said Arlene Johns, a regional editor at the Tribune-Democrat. “That’s how much respect he has.”

Called “an American Legion kind of Democrat,” Murtha supported the Persian Gulf War in 1991 but opposed intervention in Bosnia and deployment in Somalia. ~The Los Angeles Times