Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has named Democrat Patty Murray of Washington to co-chair a powerful "super committee" charged with finding more than $1 trillion in deficit cuts this fall. The choice immediately drew cries of disbelief from conservatives. It's an inauspicious beginning to what's supposed to be a bipartisan process.

The Republican National Committee singled out the selection

of Patty Murray for criticism. Murray was named to the deficit "super committee" along with Montana's Max Baucus and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney latched on to the fact that Murray currently chairs the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee and comes to the table with what he calls a reputation as a "big spender."

"That record combined with her job as being the most partisan Senate Democrat in Washington, I think that makes her clearly unfit to be part of this committee," Mahoney says.

On the other hand, a left-leaning lobby called the Washington Public Interest Research Group praised Murray's selection

. In a statement, the group expressed the hope she'll advocate for closing corporate tax loopholes.

Senate Democrats were the first to announce their picks for the "super committee." The rest must be named by next Tuesday. The deficit panel has a little more than three months to craft a bi-partisan savings plan. Congress needs to approve the results by Christmas or automatic cuts will be triggered.

On the Web:

Joint Statement on Joint Committee Appointments:

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