I guess his war criticisms weren't enough to make people forget Abscam
I though this guy was above reproach. Man these Democrats are clean as whistles huh?
BTW - is this part of the new direction?
USA today Article
By Andrea Stone and Bill Nichols, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The next speaker of the House lost her first test Thursday even before she takes office.
The decision by House Democrats to choose Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer to be majority leader over Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, despite Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi's decision to back Murtha, dampened what until now had been a jubilant time for their party.
MORE COVERAGE: USA TODAY's Andrea Stone reports | Video
Hoyer's victory, in a 149-86 secret vote, came moments after Pelosi was unanimously backed by her caucus to become the first female House speaker. The full House will formally vote on Pelosi in January.
"We've had our differences; ... and now that is over," said Pelosi, of California, after Hoyer's election. "As we say in church, let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with us. Let the healing begin."
In their first news conference together, the new Democratic leaders vowed, as Pelosi said, to work together "in a very unified way." But their body language was telling. Pelosi smiled awkwardly as Hoyer threw his arm around her shoulder while Murtha scowled behind them.
Many, though not all, observers viewed the defeat of Pelosi's handpicked candidate as a blow to her credibility.
"She's a very smart woman who made an error in judgment," said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., a Hoyer supporter.
"This puts her on notice that she is not solely in charge, that there are different factions within her caucus that are willing to be independent of her," said Mike Franc, a congressional expert at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank.
University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus said Pelosi's support of Murtha, a leading critic of the Iraq war, demonstrated her loyalty to allies and was designed "to show she is responsive to the loud message that was sent on Iraq. She can't just ignore those people and be effective as a leader."
Hoyer, 67, is a 25-year House veteran who had lined up support from most of the incoming committee chairmen as well as a majority of new members. One freshman, Nancy Boyda of Kansas, said she supported Hoyer out of "loyalty" after he stumped for her campaign.
Hoyer had been favored to win the leadership slot until Pelosi openly voiced her support for Murtha on Sunday, prompting days of intraparty tension. Pelosi and Hoyer ran against each other in 2001 in a battle to be House minority whip that Pelosi won. Despite reports of tension since then, Hoyer said Thursday the two have "worked hand in glove" to keep Democrats unified.
"My pledge to my caucus and my pledge to the country is that I will work as hard as I can," Hoyer said.
Murtha, 74, was one of the first members of Congress to call for U.S. troops to begin leaving Iraq — a policy change that resonated with voters during the recent midterm elections. Pelosi said she supported Murtha "because I thought that would be the best way to bring an end to the war in Iraq."
Yet Murtha's decision to run also revived questions about his ties to the 1980 Abscam bribery sting at a time of voter disgust over a recent spate of congressional scandals.
In Abscam, FBI agents pretending to represent an Arab sheik offered bribes to several lawmakers. When offered $50,000, Murtha was recorded as saying, "I'm not interested ... at this point." A grand jury declined to indict Murtha, and the House ethics committee issued no findings against him.
Murtha, who will chair the powerful panel that oversees defense spending, said of his defeat, "I didn't have enough votes so I'll go back to my small subcommittee."
Hoyer is not free of ethics questions, either. The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense has questioned his use of "earmarks" — language in a bill that directs funds or tax benefits to a business, project or institution — for contractors that have contributed to his political action committee.
Contributing: Wire reports