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. Rasheen

    I have two brothers who serve in the Navy. They both tell me there is no such rule or regulation that tells people to be non-partisan. They said that there is no way of telling what a person's affiliation is any way, it's not that it's broadcast up on a Billboard or anything like that, so that allegation is completely absurd. I would also state that declaring yourself an Independent is no less partisan, in and of itself, is it not?
    "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.

    Saying that absentee ballots frequently arrive late, while it is in fact true, seems completely irrelevant and is thrown in there as a distractor.

    "We've learned today that Arlen Specter ... just cant quit making Republican swift-boat attacks on the integrity of Democrats who served in our military,"

    He has never made ANY attacks on members of the military whatsoever. Name one. Have mr. Sestak provide just ONE example of what he's talking about. CNN, can YOU provide just one example of mr. Specter EVER making any attacks, "Swift Boat" or otherwise, against any member of the military to support your claim? I'll bet you can't. But you printed in your article that he "just can't stop" doing it...what's the deal?

    July 9, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  2. David

    Arlen Specter only switched to a Democrat on paper in an attempt to keep his job. But his voting record speaks for itself.

    Sestak stood on the side lines and too the cop out path as an 'independent', in an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for what Democrats or Republicans did. And not standing for anything.

    Of the two, at least Specter took responsibility and actually voted his conscious in previous elections. That's one thing that can't be said for Sestak.

    July 9, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  3. Congress Crooks

    This just proves how delusional this guy really is. I thought I was misreading this article at first. Is Specter, the man who recently changed his party affiliation because he had no chance to win as a republican, criticizing someone who changed their party affiliation 3 years ago. Specter did some good things in his time, but he is officially toast in my mind. It is past due for him to go regardless of being a republican or democrat. I think this just proves how much of his mind he has really lost

    July 9, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  4. vic richard

    "Sestak graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in American political systems.[3] Between tours at sea, Sestak earned a Master of Public Administration and a Ph.D. in political economy and government from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 1980 and 1984,"

    Hardly the resume of someone "disinterested in the political process"

    Arlen is getting worried. We need people in the Senate with Joe's qualifications and intellect.

    July 9, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  5. Nijil

    isn't this coming from the man who admitted to becoming a Democrat because he knew he would lose as a Republican?

    Please, go home Specter. It's time to bow out of the Senate admirably.

    July 9, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  6. aCorNN watchdog

    Unlike Burris, the Democratic politburo doesn't want Spector to assume his position under the bus until they have used his vote in the Senate a few more times.

    July 9, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  7. Johnny DC


    Arlen Specter is everything wrong with our political system. I am all for the protection of free speech, but in this case, it's appalling. Specter is the Obama of this PA campaign... he has all the backing and support of his (ha ha ha "his") party, and he will smear and libel the crap out of his opponent. Reminds me of the McCain hates women, McCain will tax your heath care, McCain won't bring the troops home lies.

    So much for those promises.

    July 9, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  8. Just asking

    Let me get this straight. Specter is accusing Sestak of hypocracy?? And Sestak doesn't have roots in the democratic party??

    July 9, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. Charlie in Maine

    Man I love my party's ideas but sometomes their tactics are like a circular firing squad. Arlen Specter has done the party and the country a world of good by switching. He has made the GOP look petty and mean. Every Democrat in PA should give whatever time and money they can spare to help their Senator get re-elected and not be wasting any time or effort bad -mouthing the guy.

    July 9, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  10. Scott of Utah

    I can not believe specter is calling out his opponent for "not being a real democrat." Specter was a republican just a few months ago. He is calling his opponent a hipocrite, but he is the hipocrite here.

    July 9, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  11. tess

    the unmitigated gall of spector of all people calling anybody a hypocrit is the funniest thing i've read in all blogdom! that should be the lead joke on every late nite show on tv and every radio talk show tomorrow! i think it proves beyond a doubt that spector has lost his mind and really needs to go to the home for washed up idiots =========

    July 9, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, I guess there is the first mud slinging of the primary. I just hope that who ever gets the nomination can win in November.

    July 9, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  13. Matt, San Diego, CA

    Pot calling the kettle black? Should be an interesting race.

    July 9, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  14. stormerF

    spector has a lot of room to throw names around.After his treason to his constituents.

    July 10, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
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