April 5th, 2012
05:22 PM ET
3 years ago

Specter on Santorum: 'This campaign is over'

(CNN) – While Rick Santorum insists he'll pull a victory in his home state of Pennsylvania later this month, another former high-profile senator from the Keystone State said that won't happen.

"This campaign is over for Rick Santorum," Arlen Specter said Thursday of his former supporter. "There's nothing left of his candidacy."

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In an interview set to air on CNN's "John King, USA," the former senator speculated Santorum was only staying in the race to gain book deals or fuel 2016 White House aspirations.

"I'm not going to tell him what to do, but he's beating a dead horse in my opinion," Specter told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

Specter's comments came just days after Santorum faced three disappointing losses to Mitt Romney in contests in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The former senator unexpectedly became a hot topic at a CNN debate in February when Romney criticized Santorum for supporting Specter in a 2004 re-election bid. Romney argued that Specter eventually went on to become a key vote in the passage of President Barack Obama's health care reform.

Specter served most of his life as a Republican but switched parties in 2009 to run as a Democrat after polls showed he would face a tough primary battle. The longtime senator lost in his new party's primary, however, while conservative Pat Toomey ultimately won the seat in the general election.

But the former senator also showed little enthusiasm for Romney, the Republican front-runner. Asked if the candidate could win Pennsylvania in the November general election, Specter argued the former Massachusetts governor had switched his positions too many times.

"It all depends on which Mitt Romney they're going to reset his campaign," he said.

A former chairman on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter also weighed in on Obama's controversial remarks about the Supreme Court this week, in which he challenged the high court to uphold the health care law.

While Republicans accused the president of overreaching in his comments, Specter said Obama acted in a "calculated way" and "appropriately laid down a marker."

"If the Supreme Court is going to be political about their decision, he's going to make it a campaign issue," Specter said, though adding the president "has to be careful."

Watch the full interview at 6 p.m. ET on CNN's "John King, USA."

Also see:

Santorum enjoys three strikes

Romney makes general election pitch in Pennsylvania, but can't ignore Santorum

Santorum: Romney attacks to fall short in Pennsylvania


Filed under: 2012 • Arlen Specter • Pennsylvania • Rick Santorum • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Bernieb

    Which Specter is speaking, the Democrat, the Republican,the Democrat, or the Republican ? . . . . I lose track !

    April 5, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  2. ArlenWho

    This man is so senile he was probably just referring to his own campaign–it just took this long for it to sink in!!

    April 5, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  3. Aaron Burr

    laid down a marker?? what is he saying about the Obama? how uncouth.

    April 5, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. jack878

    "There's nothing left of his candidacy." There wasn't much of a candidate to start with.

    April 5, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  5. Shamrock

    Santorum threw himself under the bus to support Specter's "last hurrah"! In order to do that he (Santorum) had to
    desert his base, the Pro-Life people. Spector should not be speaking out against Santorum but he was always
    not to be trusted! Nothing's changed! What a den of thieves! and liars!

    April 5, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. gorbud

    Why would anyone listen to this old has been Democrat, Republican now Democrat. He has the creditability of Al Sharpton. Please Arlen just GO AWAY!!

    April 5, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  7. Aaron berkowitz

    "Will forever be known as Spector the defecxtor" What sad excuse for a Human being He is Ira Einhorns old buddy

    April 5, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  8. Big Jim

    Does anyone actually give a flying fornication what Arlen Specter cares about anything?

    April 5, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  9. chobers

    That's Phil Specter, the record guy, right?

    April 5, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  10. Republicans are Neanderthals

    One extinct dinosaur commenting on another.

    April 5, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. Bronco

    It's laughable to me that Spector critisizes Romney for changing positions too many times......And this from the man who switched parties twice!. Hello pot....this is the kettle......you're black.

    April 5, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  12. WilliamPenn

    Somebody nudged Arlen at the rest-home and that was the first thing he blurted out. He thought it was the 1967 Philadelphia mayoral race.

    April 5, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    He has room to talk, you slimy, self-centered, egotistical, turncoat...nobody cares what you have to say. Go away already.

    April 5, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. Lucy

    Who cares what you think?? You are a self-centered, turncoat who cares nothing about the american people. You selfish, egotistical moron, go away already.

    April 5, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  15. Paul

    I am a native of Pennsylvania and I am glad that Arlen is finally off the stage. Of course, Santorum got a little bit farther in his Presidential Campaign than did Arlen when he ran in 1996. The problem with Specter is that it has always been about him. Even if you don't care much for Santorum, he does come across as caring about his fellow man. He isn't afraid to take on tough questions and face the people. I think Santorum learned a lot from his humbling defeat at the hands of Bob Casey's son a few years ago. He is young enough to eventually run again.. or at least be a force for his cause.

    April 5, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  16. mike from nebraska

    god bless you arlen specter!!!

    April 5, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  17. Uthor

    Specter is right. Santorum is now just on a book tour for a book that doesn't yet exist. He's seen how successful Palin is at not really doing anything–but laughing all the way to the bank. Of course he wants in on that gravy train...

    April 5, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  18. John F. Kennedy

    Santorum needs to do a "Specter" himself. ...What with his extremely liberal voting record and very questionable history and all.

    Rick Santorum (D) 2020

    April 5, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  19. Patrick from Minnesota

    Idiot mines, I think you may have been the one spending too much time in the idiot mines...

    April 5, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  20. Sean

    Chits, Ms. Borger? It's chips, you take your chips and go home. It's a poker reference.

    April 5, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  21. Eric

    Specter lost whatever respectability he used to have. He might have fooled some pretending to just have an independent strick in him and not conforming to a party line. But during late stage of his career he just showed that he would do anything for his own political self-interest to a point that he became a joke commanding no respect from either party nor from president's circles and was used and then discarded. Santorum is kinda an idiot for endorsing Specter even during Specter's long shot presidential run in 1996.

    April 5, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  22. Beachguy53

    Funny how this article doesn't point out Arlene started as a Dem then flipped to being a Republican when it became politically expedient, then flopped back to being a Dem in an attempt to save his worthless hide and political career.

    April 5, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  23. RedInDenver

    I am not a Santorum fan by any stretch of the imagination; but have a pretty low opinion of Specter as well. I couldn't care less what he has to say about the state of the race or anything else.

    April 5, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  24. roadsterred

    Poor Arlen Specter, he doesn't know when to leave the national scene. He switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party and was hung out to dry by them. In my book, he has not one ounce of credibility left in him but yet has the audacity to think that his spoken words still matter.

    April 5, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  25. pinoak

    If a Democratic says it, must be true, right? Specter is still a democrat, isn't he? Well, I'm guessing this flip-flopper is in the tank for the other flip-flopper. Arlen Specter, an example of why so many are turned off by politics today. Arlen Specter...the old republican guard of go-along to get-along. Arlen Specter, who has no vision for the future beyond a mushy mediocrity, tell us, why do you weigh in? Oh, I think I know. He's one of the many on the left attempting to co-opt the republican primary for the democrats.

    April 5, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
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