February 11th, 2009
10:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Specter: I'll take my chances

CNN

Watch Sen. Arlen Specter's interview from American Morning Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN)– One of the three moderate Republican senators who voted in favor of the stimulus package says he's aware of the political danger he's putting himself in.

"I understand the peril, but I didn't run for the United States Senate to further my own political interests," Sen. Arlen Specter said on CNN's American Morning. "I think when you have a decision like the one that we're facing now, there's only one way to respond, and that's to respond with action."

Specter and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine were the only Republicans to back the $838 billion bill that passed the Senate yesterday. All three senators were involved in cutting spending proposals from the original plan crafted by Democrats, and all three have said they may not vote for the final version of the bill if more spending projects are added to the legislation by House Democrats.

"If somebody else in the Republican Party had stepped up to do the negotiations, to handle it, I would have been glad to step aside," Specter told American Morning anchor John Roberts.

The five-term senator from Pennsylvania said that with the economy facing a possible catastrophe, "the only responsible thing to do is to support the package. And bear in mind, the Republican moderates' program got $110 billion cut. We got the backing of the United States Chamber of Commerce, which is a very conservative Republican organization. They know the economy better than perhaps anybody, because they're in touch with so many thousands of businesses and they say the economy requires it."

Neither Collins or Snowe face re-election in 2010, but Specter does. He faced a bruising primary battle in 2004 against then-Republican Rep. Pat Toomey, a fiscal conservative.

The National Republican Trust PAC, an influential conservative political action committee, is pledging to support primary challengers to any Republican senator who supports stimulus package backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats - the latest public show of dissatisfaction from the right over the massive measure before Congress.


"Republican senators are on notice. If they support the stimulus package, we will make sure every voter in their state knows how they tried to further bankrupt voters in an already bad economy," said Scott Wheeler, executive director of the PAC, which calls for less government spending and lower taxes.

When asked about the possible political backlash from his vote supporting the bill, Specter said "it's a good plan - not a perfect plan, but a good plan - and I'll take my chances."

soundoff (210 Responses)
  1. RSR

    Vote them out.
    Impeach Dodd & Frank.

    February 11, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Tracey

    To some of you so called true conservative people out there, I would like to here your plan, all you do is trash what the dems try to do and you cant come up with a real plan, just the same old crap that has been proven not to work, I don't want anything handed to me I want to work for what I get but when you can't find a job it's pretty hard to do that. What's even worse is working for penny's still not being able to pay your bill's. Something needs to be done and soon.

    February 11, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Tom

    I support the actions of the three senitors who back the bill. From the history thru with we learned in terms of how USA reacted to the great depression and how Sweden reacted to the great depression. Sweden had more successes than that the US did. I believe these three made the right decision.

    February 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. I hate TX

    Hey Terry TX, as long as no $$ goes to that worthless $h!t hole (aka Texas) I couldn't care less about how the $$ gets spent.

    Save America, Nuke Texas (those retards forced Bush on us)

    February 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Tony

    I will be more than happy to contribute to Pat Toomey the next go around.

    February 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Amazed

    THOMAS – big news flash for you and your likewise uninformed cadre: Not all people run for political office to further their own political ambitions. Some people run because they really want to help do something for their country. I had a supervisor at work many years ago who ended up running for office (and getting elected) because, as he put it, "I got tired of yelling at my television and decided I'd be more likely to make a difference if I were in a place where I could actually do so." Whether you agree with Specter or not on his views and how he comes in on various issues, I think it's clear this is a man who thinks about what he is asked to consider, thinks about how his vote will affect things, and uses his best judgement and conscience. Not everyone does that, of course, and clearly most Republicans are simply following Party Leadership because they are so miffed that people voted them out of power, but there are some on both sides of the aisle with integrity. Don't tar them all with the same brush. You're wrong.

    February 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    It is a shame to see how many people in this forum have no clue on what other American are going through because their pias noses are up in the air. There are people out there with nothing. Looking for help and for once 3 repubs along with people who are in touch with the lives of others are willing to do all they can. News Flash people. This is not about party anymore. If any of you have any bright ideas other than tax cuts, which has not worked out at all, then I'm sure congress and the house will be all ears. But somthing has to be done. Thank God for these 3 who could care less about Rush, Hanity or other critics think........they broke party lines. Please.....There was a time when the Republicans cared about the warfare of indiviuals. Repubs freed slaves and many other great things. Now their a joke. Finally real repubs that return to thier roots. Country First.

    February 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. I voted for change!!!!!

    Good for him!!!! Stand up for what it right!!! It amazes me how so many people have an opinion on things they don't understand. I noticed several comments here are from those who don't have a clue. Americans should invest into educating themselves on information from both sides of the aisle before coming to a idiot conclusion.

    February 11, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. dennis

    Very good senator. So when this plan doesn't work – since it doesn't address the problems – I expect you will be out front explaining why.

    Geithner stands up and says NOTHING. Then goes before congress and says NOTHING. Obamazombies say how great this new leadership is.

    Grape or orange Kool-aide Kristen ??

    February 11, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Kona Kim

    Way to go Mr. Spector, Ms. Snowe, and Ms. Collins for thinking of your country and what is right, and not the failed GOP, I applaud all of you. The GOP is a doomed party and if they try to blackmail these reasonable seantors, it will backfire on them and the Democrats will gain more seats in the next election. Don't the Republicans see that the American people are hurting and that something needs to be done? Oh I forgot, the Republican's are a party only for rich, old white men and they are doing just fine because Bush set them up nicely over the last 8 years. They don't care about us little people who have lost their jobs, cannot feed their families and fear of loosing their homes. John McCain, afterall does not even know how many homes he owns!

    February 11, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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