[Col.] Bubp, a GOP state legislator and Marine Corps Reserve officer, had campaigned for Schmidt. He put out his own statement yesterday: “The comments and concerns I shared with Congresswoman Schmidt were never meant as a personal reference to Mr. Murtha. . . . We never discussed anyone by name and there was no intent to ever disparage the congressman or his distinguished record of service for our nation.” Bubp, through a spokeswoman, declined an interview request.

Schmidt recalls their Friday phone conversation somewhat differently. “I wrote down what he was saying,” she said in the interview. “He did ask me to send a message to Congress, and he also said send a message to ‘that congressman.’ He did not know that congressman’s name, but I did. Neither one of us knew he was a Marine.”

Schmidt said she had not noticed the numerous references to Murtha’s military background in the newspaper, radio and TV accounts of his troop-withdrawal proposal, made Thursday. “They keep us pretty busy,” she said.

Paul Hackett, a veteran of the Iraq war who lost the August special election to Schmidt, said her comments on the House floor “were at best irresponsible and at worst grossly unpatriotic.” Hackett, who has sharply criticized President Bush’s Iraq war policy, is running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, but some Democrats are trying to talk him into a rematch against Schmidt. ~The Washington Post

I find her excuse very hard to believe. Who hasn’t seen a reference to his military career in every news story about Rep. Murtha? Most of the articles out there have made a point of mentioning it to highlight the fact that, as a veteran and supporter of activist foreign policy, his growing opposition to the war is more significant than that of other members of his party.

Mmebers of Congress do have staffers for many reasons–one of them is to keep the members from missing or misstating facts that are common knowledge to any literate and informed citizen. It reflects very badly on Rep. Schmidt and her party that she cannot simply acknowledge that her choice of words could only have appeared to be designed to insult Rep. Murtha and imply that he was exhibiting a kind of cowardice. It simply cannot be just a coincidence, and even if it was a coincidence she ought to be able to understand why her remarks were immediately offensive to those that heard and read them. No spin was required to make people across the spectrum understand the trashy nature of the attack–everyone knew what she meant to say, even if she is too much of a coward to admit it.