It is one thing not to prosecute Karl Rove. It is one thing to let him get away with leaking info about CIA employees with impunity. It is another thing to let a puffy chicken hawk deride Democrats as cowards. Marine  John Murtha for one ain’t taking it sitting down.

WASHINGTON, June 18 — Representative John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and Vietnam War veteran pushing for a quick withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, today mocked Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, for championing the war while “sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside.”

Mr. Murtha, in an appearance on the NBC News program “Meet the Press,” was responding to a speech Mr. Rove delivered in New Hampshire last week attacking Democrats for what he called “that party’s old pattern of cutting and running.”

When Mr. Murtha was asked today for his reaction to Mr. Rove’s remarks, he said: “He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside saying, ‘Stay the course.’ That’s not a plan. I mean, this guy — I don’t know what is military experience is, but that’s a political statement.”