May 3rd, 2009
08:21 PM ET
3 years ago

Sestak says he's 'not sure' Specter's a Democrat yet

Sestak is weighing a 2010 Senate bid.
Sestak is weighing a 2010 Senate bid.

(CNN) - Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak told CNN Sunday that he wasn't sure Sen. Arlen Specter is really part of the Democratic Party, the latest in a series of tough comments aimed at his potential Senate primary rival.

"I'm not sure he's a Democrat yet," he told John King on State of the Union.

President Obama said earlier in the week that Specter had his support, with one administration official saying it took the president about "seven seconds" to make that decision.

Those remarks don't faze Sestak.

"The president has said he respects Arlen's independence..." he said. "He'll respect mine if that is the case, I know that."

After Specter's announcement last week, Sestak said he was taking a wait-and-see approach on the question of whether to embrace the party's newest senator. Later in the week, he finally confirmed publicly that he's weighing a Senate bid of his own, setting up the prospect of a primary fight between the Democratic congressman and the party's newest senator.

In an effort to give a boost to any potential Democratic primary challenger, Specter's former colleagues in the Senate GOP launched a new campaign last week designed to highlight the consistency of his Republican record and his ties to President Bush and other party leaders.


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Extra • Joe Sestak • Pennsylvania • State of the Union
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Diplomacy

    Not to worry. It won't be Specter running in 2010. It will be Ed Rendell, the current Governor of PA. His second term is up, PA goes to the polls to elect a new Governor as Rendell is limited to only 2 terms. Arlen will announce his retirement & "Fast Eddie" will be right there! A deal's been cooked. And I smell it on a slow simmer.

    May 3, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  2. P Alfonso

    He is yours now, you got him. He was not a Conservative and we don't want him back. A a matter of fact we have a few more that we are willing to give the Democrats. What about John McCain

    May 3, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  3. MP

    President made a blunder that does not follow democracy principles or nuts and bolts. I hope Mr. Obama gets a dose of his own medicine he invented in Chicago and IL elections while making a way against odds that absurd party politics "traditions" ruled at the time. This time, any other candidate, not Mr. Specter. will win the Democratic primary and also the senate seat in the next election in PA. Mr. Specter could save teh President from avoidable embarrassment (or the kind he did not have to get in to) by wisely retiring from the senate upon the end of the current term. PA will look for new ideas and aa candidate who actually sacrifices for the people, not the other way around.

    May 3, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. Johnny DC

    I don't know how Specter could lose, with such great positions as "I switched parties because I couldn't get reelected as a Republican."

    What a wonderful statement. And the people of Pennsylvania are ready to embrace him as their Democratic leader. The "I'll do whatever it takes to get elected" mentality suits the Democratic party well, just ask Hilary.

    May 3, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  5. Kristin

    I'm a PA resident and a Democrat, and I've always liked Arlen Specter. I think he has done a good job representing PA, and I would vote for him regardless of what party he is affiliated with.

    May 3, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  6. David in West Virginia

    Arlen Specter is no Democrat. Enough said. Democrats in PA needs to wake up!

    May 3, 2009 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  7. JT

    I find it disgusting that after Specter spends the entire Bush era enabling every single disastrous decision that Bush makes, while simultaneously always speaking out of one side of his mouth sweet words of moderation, that he now calls himself a "democrat" to save his own political skin. Pennsylvania pick the real deal, write, call, and support Democrat Sestak to be the next real Democratic senator of Pennsylvania. It is time for a real change and a dependable Democratic voice of reason, compel Sestak to run with your support! Our country and Pennsylvania need a real Democratic senator!

    May 3, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  8. Michael

    The gop,the party of no gave Sen.Specter no choice,he voted yes to help the econmy and help the nation,the gop wanted him to vote no to make the President fail.The things President Obama is doing is to help us,not to hurt us.The gop made a pack with the devil.They claim that government is bad and so taxes have to be cut,then government functioning does indeed become bad in many areas because of the lack of funding.And then the Republicans use the damage that they cause as evidence that government is no good.What the devil meant for bad God meant for good.Thank God for Pres.Obama and his administration.People in 2010 and 2012 say no to the party of no.God bless.

    May 3, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  9. Bonnie

    Spector changed parties for his own political expediency. He knew he would lose to Toomey and wants to stay in the senate. While he did vote for the stimulus bill, he is no democrat and will be totally useless in getting Obamas health reform passed. He has said so on many shows. He supports a different version...a Republican version, no doubt. He has already voted against the budget. He is also against card check. And I believe he said he would filibuster Obama's Supreme Court pick. Why Obama promised to support him in a democratic primary is a mystery to me. Sestak or another real Democrat needs to win this seat.

    May 3, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  10. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    jojo,
    What are you referring to?

    May 4, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  11. Che-3

    I really don't like or admire ANY man you can't make up his mind. He's a real opportunist, power drunk to the hilt with the sole intent to clinch to power until hell freezes over. He cannot be trusted and should not be allowed to swing from tree-to-tree depending on the direction of the wind. His intent and run as Dem. in 2010 should be fully challenged by someone who can fully take a stand as man.

    May 4, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  12. chris S

    Specter represents Comcast and himself, and no one else

    May 4, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  13. Pioneer

    I think the Democrats of Pennsylvaina might want a real Democrat representing them in the Senate. Not this fair weather guy.

    May 4, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  14. Itchyfinger

    Larry, if the people of Pennsylvania "know a good man when they see him", well, what is a good man, anyway? I would like to think it's a man who believes in the principles which he stands on. I realize it may be considered a bit naive for the real world, but without this, then you have the sort of man with all the moral spine of your neighborhood dope dealer representing your interests in Washington. He must have pleased the Dems for awhile until he made them all look like jerks for the same extremism, untempered by any humanity whatsoever, which has been the hallmark of his later career as a Republican. It's not that the wind has shifted, that is merely symptomatic of the damage which he and a few like him have done to the Republican Party. Anyway, the wind has shifted again, and again we see Spectre shifting with it. You should expect him to move once more for the loudest, most irrational voices out there (now that the deep pockets which once supported him can no longer provide), moving with absolutely no personal sense of responsibility for what he does to his country, despite his higher intelligence and education than most of his voters. Spectre may be smarter than the average dope dealer, but he's proven to be no less an evil man. In all stories of encounters with the Devil, the Devil's business policy is always to give his victims what they want, and then some. When the people are deceived into making demands against their own interests, Spectre, just like the Devil, is out front as the conductor of the smoke and mirror show of deception. Now that Spectre's character is abundantly plain to see, why should millions of Americans continue to allow him to represent them?

    May 4, 2009 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  15. The Pen

    Run, Joe, Run!

    As a bleeding heart Democrat, I feel the party leaders in Washington, DC and PA are selling us out by supporting Specter in the PA Democrat Senate primary. What makes it so bad is that President Obama, Vice President Biden and PA Governor Ed Rendell all support Specter as if he is the winner without one single vote being cast by the Democrats.

    What makes it even worse for this bleeding heart Democrat blogger, is that Specter comes out against the Employee Free Choice Act, and rubs our nose in it too boot, – telling us he would lead a filibuster against the Act in the Senate! Thanks, but no thanks.

    I hope Sestak runs. He will split the Democratic party in PA and that will be a good thing as that will send a clear message to the party leaders in Washington, DC and PA that our votes are not to be sold simply for the asking. I say this because I think Sestak can win. I worked on his successful 2006 campaign bid for the House of Reps seat against long term incumbent Weldon in PA, and I saw first hand the coalition he was able to build in bringing students, veterans, labor, seniors, independents and, yes, even republicans into the fold. Clearly, Sestak has the goods to win.

    In sum, if Sestak runs for Senate, I know this is one Democrat in PA that will support his campaign not only at the ground level but with financial contributions as well. Run, Joe, Run!

    May 4, 2009 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
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