- Jul 31, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
Rep. Jean Schmidt flung the word "coward" at a decorated war veteran from Pennsylvania last week, but the Ohio Republican's comments landed with a splat in her own Cincinnati district, where some supporters are backing away as she scrambles to explain what she meant.
Judging by her words yesterday -- the first after avoiding the public for three days -- Schmidt doesn't understand what the fuss is about, and sees herself more as victim than villain. "I am amazed at what a national story this has become," she said in a statement. "I have been attacked very personally, continuously since Friday evening."
Many people are unsympathetic. NBC's "Saturday Night Live" lampooned her, the Cincinnati Enquirer's editorial page -- which endorsed her congressional bid -- said she was "way out of line," and the friend she claimed to be quoting on the House floor last week declared yesterday that he had said no such thing.
How could Schmidt not know Murtha was a Marine?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.