October 15th, 2008
08:05 PM ET

"Western Pennsylvania is a racist area"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/15/art.murtha.jpg]
Ed Blazina
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

U.S. Rep. John Murtha said today he expects Democratic nominee Barack Obama to carry Pennsylvania in next month's presidential election.

Mr. Murtha, a 17-term Democrat from Johnstown, told the Post-Gazette's editorial writers he sees momentum building in Mr. Obama's campaign across the state for the general election after he lost his party's April primary to Hillary Clinton. He thinks Republican John McCain's efforts have been stymied by the country's economic crisis.

"I think Obama is going to win, but I don't think it's going to be a runaway," he said. "I think he wins Pennsylvania."

Mr. Murtha said it has taken time for the state's voters embrace a black presidential candidate.

"There's no question Western Pennsylvania is a racist area," said Mr. Murtha, whose district stretches from Johnstown to Washington County. "The older population is more hesitant."

Mr. Murtha said groups he deals with regularly, such as military veterans and senior citizens, have come around to supporting Mr. Obama in the past three months. He credited Mr. Obama with being the most organized candidate he has ever seen.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Editor's Note: Rep. John Murtha has issued an apology for the above statement:

“I apologize for making the comment that ‘Western Pennsylvania is a racist area.’

“While we cannot deny that race is a factor in this election, I believe we’ve been able to look beyond race these past few months, and that voters today are concerned with the policy differences of our two candidates and their vision for the future of our great country.

“Senator Obama has shown sound judgment and has presented us with a change from the failed policies of George Bush and John McCain. I believe he will win both Pennsylvania and the White House.”

Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Gary Chandler in Canada

    no no there can NOT be racism in America! How could he say such a thing? LOL

    October 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  2. Caroline

    Yes I think that it is!!

    October 15, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  3. Tara

    I live in central PA, and I am sad to say that I agree. It's a constant issue.

    October 15, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  4. Sandwiched

    I live in western PA, about 45 minutes southeast of Pittsburgh, but I was born & raised near Chicago. I wish I could say it's not true, but I think it just might be. My husband and I joked when we moved here 7 years ago that this area is like moving 20 years into the past (compared to Chicagoland), and I think it might hold true with these racist attitudes, too.

    But for the record, not ALL of us are!

    Go Obama!

    October 15, 2008 at 8:58 pm |
  5. Cindy

    Nice way to get a state to vote for you by calling them racist! Murtha just needs to keep his mouth closed! He's opened up a can of worms that Obama supposedly didn't want opened. This could come back to bite them.


    October 15, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  6. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    POOR JOHN MURTHA. I know you are trying to help, but PLEASE let's not start calling names..

    Let's not stoop into the gutter with the Republicans!

    Its bad enough that the Republicans are inciting hate and fear!


    October 15, 2008 at 8:28 pm |