July 9th, 2009
07:11 PM ET
13 years ago

Specter: Sestak a 'flagrant hypocrite'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/06/liberal.republicans/art.specter.gi.jpg caption="Arlen Specter called fellow Democrat and Joe Sestak a 'flagrant hypocrite' Thursday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter called his fellow Democrat, Rep. Joe Sestak, a "flagrant hypocrite" and accused his rival of registering as a Democrat "just in time to run for Congress."

Sestak has said that he will challenge Specter, who has the backing of President Obama and party leaders, for the Democratic Senate nomination next year. Specter, a longtime Republican, switched his party registration to Democrat this year.

On Thursday, Specter's campaign sought to bring into question Sestak's roots to the Democratic Party. Specter's campaign sent out a list of Sestak's voting history in Delaware County, which the senator's campaign said showed that Sestak registered as an Independent in 1971, didn't vote in any primary elections from 1971-2005 and that he officially registered as a Democrat in February of 2006. Sestak was elected as a Democrat to the House in 2006.

"Congressman Sestak is a flagrant hypocrite in challenging my being a real Democrat when he did not register as a Democrat until 2006 just in time to run for Congress," Specter said in the statement. "His lame excuse for avoiding party affiliation, because he was in the service, is undercut by his documented disinterest in the political process."

Update, 7:11 p.m.: In a statement given to CNN, Sestak defended his record, saying he was an Independent while he served in the Navy because he believed that "military officers should be nonpartisan." He said he voted numerous times by absentee ballot, but that it is "all too common" for military votes to go uncounted because they arrive late.

"We've learned today that Arlen Specter can abandon his party, but he just cant quit making Republican swift-boat attacks on the integrity of Democrats who served in our military," Sestak also said in the statement. He added, "My question to Arlen Specter is this: do you regret voting for George Bush and John McCain? Why should Democrats support someone like you who actively campaigned as recently as last year for politicians with values like George W. Bush?"

Filed under: Arlen Specter • Joe Sestak • Popular Posts
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    A statement from a black kettle smoking pot.

    July 9, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. Tired of Sludge

    Spector is the last person who should be casting that stone. Spector already admitted the reason he changed to Democrat "just in time to run for [re-election]" and only because he can't win a Republican primary. Spector has been carrying water for the Republicans up until a couple months ago; Sestak has not.

    Will the real "flagrant hypocrite" please stand up?

    On a side note, Is Spector saying that all of the millions of independents who have recently come off the fence and joined the Democratic Party are hypocrites? That's not a way to win friends and influence people.

    July 9, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  3. Sam I Am

    Takes one to know one.

    July 9, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  4. Phat Elvis

    For a former republican, Sen Spector was not bad. i am glad he came over to our party and look forward to his work as a centrist. However, the Senator would be wise to recognize his long service doesnt translate into an automatic entitlement to serve, and should welcome the opportunity to debate Rep. Sestak. Any person worth his salt is not afraid of competition; Sen Spector has decades of experience on his side, and he should conduct himself in the manner his Office deserves. On that matter, the tone he struck today leaves something to be desired.

    July 9, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. PA Dem Voter

    Specter's desperate. He knows he can't win against Sestak; he's grossly overestimated the amount of support he's going to win in the Democratic Primary. These personal, ad-hoc attacks might have worked in the other party, but Democratic voters aren't going to buy into them.

    July 9, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  6. Scott, Tucson

    Poor Arlen..he really was not looking at having any competition, maybe he ought to look for a nice retirement home to move to when he leaves office.

    July 9, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. eamon mccaffery

    I cursed my union for endorsing Specter simply because he is from philadelphia. I told them he would screw them when they needed him the most and he did, twice. As for Sestak, I have learned not to trust Military brass as far as I could launch them from a missile silo.I believe every member in congress and of the Supreme Court should be replaced with regular everyday working men and women, people who actually sweat for a living wage.

    July 9, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. cole

    So surprised. Specter is the hypocrite, so he tries to accuse Sestak. Classic misdirection. Comon PA voter,s see through it.

    July 9, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  9. because he was in the service

    Specter is on some fragile ground her

    calling a member of the service a hypocrit for not registering as a demo or repub

    afraid of competition specter?

    July 9, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. Penn Voter

    Spector, you are calling the kettle black. All of us know that you only changed parties to avoid having your hat handed to you in the GOP primary.

    Do the state a favor and bow with grace.

    July 9, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  11. REPUB OF LA.

    i hope and pray Speter loses big ! BIG!!!!

    July 9, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  12. John

    Did you really just accuse someone else of not really being a Democrat? Really, Arlen?

    July 9, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  13. LanciaV6

    From what I see in the budget numbers coming from the beltway, this will be considered mild language by the end of the next session.

    July 9, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  14. Tim

    Is Spector as stupid as he looks?

    July 9, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  15. John-Philadelphia, PA

    Arlen Specter did his homework, and won this round! Sestak is truly a hypocrite. (By the way, Specter served in the USAF, so Sestak's statement of response is doubly fallacious).

    July 9, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  16. Glennis

    He ought to know a hypocrite when he sees one. But Specter is worse than a hypocrite. He's a two faced, self-serving hack who needs to sit down and shut up.

    July 9, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. Keith in Austin

    Coming from Arlen, the comment just doesn't hold much water.

    July 9, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  18. Melissa - PA

    wait to go Joe! Specter has no right to be questioning's someone's loyalty to the democratic party, and the more he tries to do so, the more ridiculous he looks. You have my vote Joe.

    July 9, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  19. Neilz

    Specter's been played like an old banjo.
    Sestak is the future of that district. Everybody, including Obama, knows it. Sestak represents the changing face of that district. Young, moderate and connected. Specter will be forced to make an aggressive but token play for the seat. The Party will back Sestak.
    Specter is yesterday's news. He's fulfilled his purpose and now the Democrats will put him to political sleep.

    July 9, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  20. Alex in WI

    Specters the flaming hypocrite. At least Sestak isn't on his second party switch and counting. SPECTER, LIEBERMAN AND BEN NELSON need to call it quits so real democrats can get in there.

    July 9, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. Former Republican Never Again

    Spector is a flagrant hypocrite for campaigning against Obama then running as a Democrat just in time to run for re-election. Spector knows that members of the Armed Forces cannot openly campaign for candidates.

    July 9, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  22. Hopeful Optimist

    I agree with Sestak completely. I think career military officers should remain neutral, at least publicly, for their ultimate boss is a civilian. They should not have to place themselves in the awkward position of declaring their political leanings.

    Specter should understand and respect this situation. I have no doubt that Rep. Sestak is an honorable individual, and I would vote for him if I were from PA. I'm a lifelong Democrat, but I doubt if I would vote for Specter. He may call Sestk a hypocrit, but I would call Specter a political opportunist.

    July 9, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  23. jj

    Sestak seems more trustworthy, Specter not so much........ Sestak Vs Specter is like Obama Vs McCain, out with the old grumpy guy and in with the new fresh ideas. Rep. Sestak, go get him he is just feeling the heat...

    July 9, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  24. Tatianna

    Its dishonest for Sestak to accuse Spector of swift-boat attacks. Sestak is using his military service as a political to challenge Spector in election. Sestak should redirect the statement and question to President Obama and dem party leaders: Why are you supporting someone like Spector who actively campaigned as recently as last year for politicians with values like GW Bush, for the dem senate nomination next year? BREAKING NEWS – Independents leary of Obamas policies, agenda and governing as the POTUS. Those of us warning fellow Americans about Obama are being proven right much sooner than we thought.

    July 9, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  25. Hayden

    Sestak has still been a Democrat longer than you have, Arlen.

    July 9, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
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