Tonight we look at the debate on the war in Iraq among voters in two quite different corners of the country, politically and geographically, and find key differences as well as some common ground.
It's the first day of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania, and folks were talking about that -- and the war in Iraq -- today in the 12th Congressional District, home of Democratic Rep. John Murtha. We sent correspondent Chip Reid to Johnstown, Pa., to gauge sentiment about the war after Murtha's stark call for a pullout a couple of weeks ago intensified the war debate in a way we hadn't seen previously. Murtha, a decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam, is highly popular in the district and told us again how he was reflecting the view of voters whom, he said, were well ahead of him on the war issue. But even if that weren't the case, he told us, he would still take this position. We explored the issue as well at the American Legion Hall. Among a group of older vets, some told us that if a guy like John Murtha says it's time to start pulling out of Iraq, maybe it's time for them to rethink their support of the war. And yet others, despite their support of John Murtha generally, differ with him on pulling out of Iraq. Our story tonight reflects their thinking as well.
Our companion story is from Mark Potter, who went to the 16th Congressional District in south-central Florida. That area is represented by Mark Foley, a moderate Republican who told us there is an "underbelly of unease" about the war in Iraq. While most people in the district still support the way the war is being handled and say the U.S. should not just "cut and run," Foley tells us that, increasingly, his Republican constituents want to hear about how and when the war will end. We follow the congressman as he talks with voters on both sides of the war debate.
I was particularly struck by one man, Ira Delgado, a restaurant owner and a Republican, who believes, on one hand, that the U.S. needs to finish the job in Iraq, but asks: "Is there an end to this? Because it seems there is no end to it right now."
Whatever your politics, that is a question that many more people seem to be asking after John Murtha spoke his mind.