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N.J. Lawmaker Targeted for Iraq
N.J. Lawmaker Targeted for Iraq Comments By DONNA DE LA CRUZ, Associated Press Writer
42 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (news, bio, voting record) is among eight Republican congressmen targeted by a liberal advocacy group for criticizing a call for American troops to immediately withdraw from Iraq.
Television ads featuring the congressmen were to begin airing nationally on Thanksgiving Day, and then will run in each of the lawmakers' home districts a few days later.
Last Thursday, Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., called for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The next day, the Republican-controlled House hastily arranged for a vote on Murtha's resolution. Democrats accused Republicans of orchestrating a political stunt that prohibited thoughtful debate on the issue, and nearly all voted against the measure. The final tally was 403 against Murtha's resolution, and 3 in favor of it.
Frelinghuysen and the other congressmen are out of step with the American people, who want a change of course in Iraq, Tom Matzzie, the Washington, D.C., director of MoveOn.org Political Action, said Tuesday.
"Frelinghuysen basically said Murtha was helping the terrorists," Matzzie said. "The debate that day was about repudiating John Murtha."
But Frelinghuysen said his comments were not about Murtha, whom he described as a friend and an ally. The two, both Vietnam War veterans, serve on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee.
"My comments had everything to do with how we look after our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan," Frelinghuysen said. "I did not invoke his name in any way, and nothing was aimed at him. My feeling is we need to reach some sort of common ground on how we support our troops and get them home after we accomplish this good work."
In his remarks last Friday on the House floor, Frelinghuysen called the immediate withdrawal of troops "a recipe for disaster, a dangerous defense policy, the wrong message for our soldiers and Marines who are truly doing the work of freedom."
"Frankly, I am concerned that such talk will only embolden the terrorists and demoralize our war fighters," he added.
"Our only exit strategy from Iraq should be victory," Frelinghuysen said. "Anything less than that virtually guarantees the next battleground may be closer to home!"
The MoveOn.Org ads are scheduled to air nationally from Nov. 24 through Nov. 30. They will air 16 times on local cable networks in Frelinghuysen's district starting Nov. 28, Matzzie said. Frelinghuysen represents all of Morris County and parts of Somerset, Essex, Sussex and Passaic counties.
The MoveOn.Org ad begins with a family at their Thanksgiving dinner table, bowing their heads in prayer. An announcer says "Some folks won't be home this holiday season" and the video cuts to a shot of soldiers in Iraq with mess kits.
The ad then shows a photo of President Bush and Vice President Cheney and the announcer saying "Their president misled America to send them in and has no plan to get them out," and "Where are the Republicans?"
The ad then encourages viewers to call the congressmen, and posts their district phone numbers.
The other Republican congressmen targeted in the ad are: Duncan Hunter of California; Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston of Georgia; J.D. Hayworth of Arizona; Jean Schmidt of Ohio; Geoff Davis of Kentucky; and Steve King of Iowa.