First, Murtha was taking a “baffling” position only accepted by “the extreme liberal wing.” White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, 11/18/05:
[I]t is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled — nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer.
Now, he’s taking a “clear stand” in a “legitimate discussion.” Vice President Cheney, 11/21/05:
Recently my friend Jack Murtha called for a complete withdraw of our troops in Iraq. I disagree with Jack and believe his proposal would not serve the best interest of this nation. He’s a good man, a marine, a patriot and he’s taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion.