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. shirley

    i think senator specter did the right thing.congrat.

    April 29, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  2. B4RealOkay

    The problem with the GOP is they are very negative.
    Their Motto Is:

    We are very tired of it. We tell our kids not to such things. Maybe we should tell the GOP.

    The party of WAR, ATTACK, LIE, CHEAT

    April 29, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  3. cary

    Can the GOP get any more negative? And even their answer to that question would be – "No".

    April 29, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  4. Joseph

    LOL can you say mixed message? is Specter a liberal who belongs in the democratic party for his liberal voting record, or is he a staunch conservative that should be beaten in a democratic primary, maybe he really is just an independent minded senator who is simply looking for a party to be involved in to help his constituents. Guess we will ahve to see what his democratic constituents feel eh?

    April 29, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  5. John Doe

    Specter is the "poster child" for TERM LIMITS. He is an aged, senile, ailing Senior Citizen that is a "Legend in his own mind" and should be sequestered in a retirement home. These old farts hang on way to long and prevent younger new blood from joining the government. GO HOME ARLEN IT'S OVER!!!

    April 29, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  6. well...

    while i agree that this is anti Specter rhetoric.... isn't it also anti – the rest of the republican bunch?

    these people are hysterical

    April 29, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  7. Jim, Honolulu

    Who can blame Specter as millions of us moderate and liberal Republicans also leave a radical-right party that no longer represents us or, more importantly, most of America. How silly to be fighting cultural wars long ago decided when team-playing is necessary during this national crisis (largely created by the GOP's policies)! Worst of all, our loss of the younger generations guarantees increasing irrelevance in the future. What a sad fate for a once great party that trumpeted liberty, personal responsibility, and individualism. Lincoln would cry.

    April 29, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  8. willadean hall

    Tactics as the ones the GOP are using against Specter in Pennsylvania are sickening. Have they not learned a lesson from the Presidential election 100 days ago? Just 99 days ago before he made a decision to work with the administration – with a different political party, all was well. Now all hell breaks out–Looking for faults.SICK,SICK,SICK

    April 29, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  9. Jean, Indiana

    Nutty. Could they think of any way to more marginalize their own party?

    April 29, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  10. No Incumbents in 2010

    So the GOP is saying the fact that Bush supported Spector in past campaigns, is a NEGATIVE for Spector? If the GOP believes Bush is a negative, whey would anyone trust them?

    April 29, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  11. No Incumbents in 2010

    @ John Doe.

    The same can be said for Kennedy, Byrd and Bunning. These guys are turning the US Senate into the world's most expensive nursing home.

    April 29, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |

    I want to see a caring, young blood, charismatic Democrat run for
    this office, not the opportunist Specter. He should throw in the towel
    and call it a day.

    Surely the Democrats can come up with someone better than a man
    that has switched parties 3 TIMES!! Democrat-Republican-Democrat.
    Please, we need some young Democratic leaders that care about the middle class!!! Bring in the new. I am sick of these Specter KIND!

    April 29, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  13. mb-texas

    Wow.What a party that has lost all touch of reality.The party of No,and
    they wonder why Sen.Specter left them behind.All they have to do each day look into a mirror and asked what hace I accomplised for my
    country today? Not what have I done for myself and complained
    about the Democrats.Time to take a hard look at their actions.

    April 29, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  14. Legal

    I understand left...................... it's ok for you guys to use Bush to slander somebody but how dare the GOP do it......

    As usual..... a bunch of hypocrits.

    Spector after all was a mirror of what Bush did most of his 8 years.

    April 29, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Nice and dirty, good job GOP, no honor amongst a one of you thieves.

    April 29, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  16. Charles W. Skinner

    This is quite simple. The GOP is laying the groundwork for a leftist challenger in the Democrat primary election to beat Sen. Specter. They know that if a serious leftist wins, Mr. Toomey will crush said leftist to win the general election in November of 2010.

    April 29, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  17. Had It

    I hope they come up with a medicine to combat what the R party has contracted.

    It's UGLY

    April 29, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  18. Annie

    Now they're eating their own. No wonder Specter left. When will they stop all this nonsense, when their numbers in the senate are down in the teens and about 10% actually call themselves Republicans? Do they not realize all this purist stuff is starting to sound Nazi-ish?

    April 29, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  19. butterfly

    Here's the deal GOP. Do you really think that Pennsylvania Democrats will care what you have to say over someone like Arlen Specter who is well respected by by them. Do you think they will reject him for walking away from the GOP after your behavior that he has witnessed since President Obama's election. Also why would you put those adds out now? Why not wait until he is actually running in an election as a Democrat? You look and sound petty and childish.

    April 29, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    R in Mississippi April 29th, 2009 10:44 pm ET

    It's in his favor for the GOP to be doing things like this. Most people can see the GOP is desperate and what they say only makes themselves look bad

    R in Mississippi, if you haven't taken the steps to see what Republicans are saying on their blogs.... the reality is that the only people who don't think the GOP is desperate and in damage control over Arlen Specter's political decision are the Republicans themselves....

    April 29, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  21. JANIE

    Watch out for Specter, I don't trust him or the Republicans.

    April 29, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  22. Gil from Ottawa/Canada

    These contradictions from the RNC are very scary. What the USA and the rest of the world would have looked if these republicans retained the W.H???

    April 29, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  23. Specter is a sniveling....

    lying, self-serving, weasel. Glad he's in the Obama camp where he can now stab the Dems in the back. Kind of reminds me of Bill Richardson who knifed Hillary in the back but then got his. These people like Specter need to learn that what goes around comes around.

    April 29, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  24. Chris in NC

    You can just smell the wood burning in GOP strategy sessions to discredit him... uh, he's a lefty anyway... uh, no wait... let's go with an ad campaign to peg him to Bush so he'll loose his race.

    Do we really need a senator that switches parties simply because he'll have a better shot at re-election? Heck, the previous president started a war to make sure he got a second term, which was his primary objective during his first term.

    April 29, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  25. Kevin C

    Arlen Specter will soon be Pennsylvania's ex-senator. I genuinely wish him well in retirement.

    April 29, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
1 2 3