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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Murtha calls ethics reform 'total crap'
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, running in a bitter race against Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, for House Majority Leader, told a group of conservative Democrats that the ethics reform legislation that Democratic leaders have made a top priority was "total crap."

Despite dismissing the reforms, Murtha told the group he would support them because the presumptive Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California., was behind the effort.

One member told CNN that Murtha, referring to the lobbying reform bill Pelosi has advocated, said "even though it's total crap I'll vote for it and pass it because that's what Nancy wants."

Three members of the Blue Dog Coalition, who support Hoyer and wanted to remain anonymous, tell CNN that Murtha made these comments at their Tuesday evening meeting. Murtha was invited to address the group in advance of Thursday’s leadership elections. Rep. Hoyer also made a pitch to the group.

A majority of the 44 member Blue Dog Coalition has publicly backed Hoyer’s leadership bid.

One Democrat described members as having a "stunned reaction" and added, "this goes beyond Blue Dogs -- for any Democrat, corruption was an issue. It was the number one issue in the exit polls."

-- CNN's Andrea Koppel and Deirdre Walsh
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