April 29th, 2009
11:05 PM ET
14 years ago

GOP using Specter's own campaign ads against him

(CNN) - After Arlen Specter bolted the GOP Tuesday, Republicans like party chair Michael Steele attacked him as a "leftist" with a history of "left-wing" stands.

That was yesterday.

Twenty-four hours later, his former colleagues in the Senate GOP are rushing to embrace Specter's past in a new campaign designed to highlight the consistency of his Republican record.

"In light of Senator Specter's changing political party, we felt it was our civic duty to adequately inform Pennsylvania Democrat primary voters about their new Senator's record and his close relationship with our former President George W. Bush," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson said in a Wednesday announcement.

The effort includes a Web page featuring YouTube clips of Specter's positive comments about conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum, and criticism of Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. It also involves robocalls to Pennsylvania voters to "help you welcome your newest Democrat senator" that use audio from Specter's old campaign ads - audio featuring what the NRSC describes as "glowing support" from former President George W. Bush.

"I'm here to say it as plainly as I can, Arlen Specter is the right man for the United States Senate," says Bush in comments included in the new call. "I can count on this man - see, that's important. He's a firm ally when it matters most. I'm proud to tell you I think he's earned another term as the United States senator."

The remarks were made back in 2004, when the Bush's endorsement was widely credited with helping Specter eke out a narrow primary win over challenger Pat Toomey.

Filed under: Arlen Specter • Extra • NRSC
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. JediMasterMatt

    one moment the Repubs are pushing Spector out the door faster than than they can say get out because he was too liberals or moderate for a right-wing conservative party, and now they're having an ad saying he's just like us, loving Bush.....

    The Republican party is just so weak....face it, the GOP is doomed to fail again and again!

    April 29, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  2. worriedmom

    Let's see Specter had no problem being critical of the GOP, so I guess fair is fair. I say good riddance to Specter, he is not in it for the people, he is in it for himself. No great loss there.

    April 29, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  3. Proud DHS radical

    Oh get over it folks! the dems were going ballistic to whenever one of their own switch sides. But as for Specter, he's just an old man trying to hold onto his senate powers anyway he can. All the more reasons for limiting the old farts to just two terms and hit the streets jack!

    April 29, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  4. Patsy Madison, TN

    I keep thinking that the GOP cannot get any nastier, but they have proven me wrong again. Where is this Steele guy coming from? If you leave or say somenting about the Republican Party, you better watch out because the dirty stuff wiill come and come and come.

    April 29, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  5. Cry Me A River GOP

    For once, I do agree with the GOP- Specter is doing this to save his own job. I really think the democrats should think twice about trusting him and welcoming him with open arms. I saw a rant by Chris Matthews yesterday where he nailed it....

    April 29, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  6. Rene

    As a democrat, i'm excited to get another dem in congress....HOWEVER..this defection from Specter is a selfish move...he's doing it only for his own POLITICAL gain...he doesn't care about the democratic party, he's in it just to win and he knows it! he's lame for that...hopefully a REAL democrat will join the ticket and beat him...he's already said NO to Obama's budget....I don't trust ANY republican...defected or not!

    April 29, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  7. Mikey

    21% of the country currently identifies themselves as Republicans. Why are we even having this discussion? The GOP is going the way of the dinosaurs and the dodo bird...

    April 29, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |

    Rush limbaugh wanted President Obama to fail, but it seems the only thing failing now is the republican party.

    April 29, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  9. Jacob

    They should have a commercial with Dick Cheney in it. He's popular and non-polarizing right?

    April 29, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  10. Gerrie from Pa.

    Arlen is a joke! I have distrusted him dating all the way back to the Anita Hill
    hearings. Get real, people, this joke has got to go!! The irony of it all is that because Obama is backing him (for his own political gain) the people with their heads in the sand will do as told and vote him back in. Too bad!

    April 29, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  11. john

    Not a good first impression voting against your own parties budget. If he was more in tune with Democrats, then why doesn't he like their big tax AND spending budget. Total Clintonian to want to have all sides on every issue. Like John Kerry, I was for it before I voted against it. Must have accidently brought his Republican notes when making that vote. PA Democrats will pass on him and elect a real Democrat in the primary.

    April 29, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  12. Dan, TX

    So the argument is that Specter is liked by both the republicans and the democrats? I don't get it? You mean conservatives like Specter so any sane person would not?

    Isn't this more of an ad against the republican party than against Specter? I'm really confused.

    April 29, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  13. Palermo

    What ever happened to Steele's "more inclusive", "big tent", and "room for people with different views" decriptions of the "new" Republican party he wanted to build (remember his speech about reaching out to the hip-hop generation?). His comments are sending a strong message to moderates: the Republican party does not want you.

    I think there will be more defections of moderates, as the Republican party relentlessly and purposefully continues to narrow its demographic into a marginalized odd-ball collection of paranoid geriatric white southerners, desperate robber barons, and Talebanesque religious fanatics. That combination alone should make for hilarious conventions!

    April 29, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
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