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National Dem Party funding Specter's ads

In a sign of just how heavily invested the Dem establishment in Washington is in protecting Arlen Specter from Dem primary challenger Joe Sestak, the national Democratic Party is pouring cash into funding Specter's TV ad campaign starring President Obama, I'm told.

The ads are being funded by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, meaning national party money is being spent to prop up an incumbent who was a Republican for most of his career -- and to help him defeat a longtime Democrat.

The Specter campaign has not gone out of its way to reveal this fact. The Youtube version of the Obama ad sent out yesterday to reporters featured a disclaimer at the end indicating that the ad was being funded by the Specter campaign.

But a version of the ad that's actually running on at least two Pennsylvania stations -- sent my way by a Pennsylvania Democrat -- features this disclaimer: "Paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee."

The Specter campaign acknowledged that the DSCC is funding the Obama ad and another one called "Democrat of Pennsylvania" that started airing last week.

"The two ads are being paid for by both the campaign and the DSCC in Pennsylvania's TV markets," Specter campaign manager Christopher Nicholas told me.

It was previously reported that the earlier spot was getting funded by the DSCC. But it was unclear at that point whether that would continue. Now DSCC money is funding the new Obama spot, suggesting national party resources may be critical to rescuing Specter from the Sestak surge in the race's final stretch.

It's not surprising that national Dems would seek to protect incumbents. But the spending on Specter's ads suggests he's in real trouble. Also, Specter is an unusual case: He's been a Republican for most of his career, so it seems particularly awkward for him to be benefitting from national party money against a longtime Dem.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 12, 2010; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Time for another support group!


Just Wondering:

How many other off shore Oil Platforms are currently operating with the very same set-up and equipment as the one that is spewing oil into the gulf waters?

What I am getting at: Since no one has yet been able to stop BP's Oil Tsunami, what happens if one or more of the other platforms also start doing the same thing.

If that happens, will that not destroy President Obama's reelection chances.

Shouldn't he order all those platforms to be shut down, and closed off, until it has been determined how to prevent them from doing the same thing, as the BP Oil Tsunami is currently doing.

If The President does not, and another one blows, he will be toast.

It is clear by now that BP, Haliburton, etc are more interested in finding a way to stop the oil tsunami, that will still allow them to continue to get oil from it in the future, than they are in saving the gulf waters from having any more oil spewed into it.

I think the President needs to call all parties, BP, The Navy, etc in for an immediate crisis summit. BP is not going to stop the leak, so the White House must treat it like they would any other enormous catastrophe.

When one finds one self in a hole; the first thing to do is stop the digging. That means that the first thing that has to be done, is stop the oil leak. What the hell is the point in trying to clean up the surface oil slick, while another 200,000 gallons are being added to it, on a daily basis.

The President must take charge, and order an all out effort now, to seal of and entomb the leak site. To hell with trying to do it in a manner that will still allow BP to extract more oil from it.

Treat it like Chernobyl.
Seal it off and entomb the damn thing. Call on the military branches to come up with ways to bombard the site until it is full blocked off. Then find ways to entomb it for ever.

In the mean time; all similar platforms should be shut down. Until a way is found to make sure that they can not repeat what is now happening at the BP Oil Tsunami operation. It is too risky to allow those other platforms to continue to operate until we have made sure that they can do so safely, and with many redundant shut off features.

Believe me; if President Obama does not order them shut down, and another one blows, then he will have failed to lead, and will pay the price.

Time is not on the President's side. The longer the oil continues to spew, the more it will become an existential threat to his presidency.

This is a growing disaster, with no end in sight, while BP is allowed to call the shots on what has to be done.

The White House better go into to crisis mode now, and plug the leak ASAP.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 12, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

So who here gave money so Spector could get re-elected?

Posted by: obrier2 | May 12, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Specter's DSCC funding is probably required by his prenup with the Dems. But, if Dem primary voters don't see him as a strong favorite against Toomey, relative to Sestak, he's buttered, jellied toast.
That Sestak ad was a dagger to the heart of this breathtaking opportunist. Good riddance.

Posted by: joeff | May 12, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I confess I don't quite get the dynamics here. I don't know nearly enough about the seat and the voters there and that's a big part of my problem. Is the assumption (by the DSCC that Arlen will be more likely to hold the seat? Is it just comfort with an establishment figure? Would Arlen's votes/positions (if he held the seat) be more agreeable, for some set of reasons, to the DSCC?

Posted by: bernielatham | May 12, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

bernie -- the national Dem establishment continues insisting that Specter is the only hope of holding the seat despite mounting evidence that this isn't true. It's like some kind of reflexive embrace of incumbents at work. Very hard to understand.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 12, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

OT...but here's another wonderful example of Republicans/conservatives being so loudly inconsistent that you'd imagine the insides of their noggins must be vibrating somewhere around high C...

Kagan is "dumbing down" the SC but Palin is like super qualified for VP, courtesy of Bay Buchanan.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 12, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Greg, that's sort of implicit with "establishment backing". And the reason they're funding him isn't because he's electable, he's an incumbent. I don't see the news here....

Posted by: calchala | May 12, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I'd agree with joeff that the Dems had a deal with Specter for the party switch.

Question at this point is whether the DSCC is doing this with the polls against Twomey in mind or not. Do they think Specter is the stronger state candidate?

Has Rendell endorsed either one of them? Prominent newspapers? Curious what the mood is in PA.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 12, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Greg.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 12, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

calchala, it's unusual for establishment backing to stray into outright expenditures of national money, and this is made particularly awkward by the fact that Specter was a lifelong Republican.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 12, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I think that U.S. Senator Arlen Specter is the best nominee for the Democratic Party ticket in Pennsylvania this year!

Posted by: atifgulab | May 12, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Must run. I placed this link for Stewart's piece on Republican opposition to Kagan back on the last thread but wanted to link it again in the event some may have missed it.

Somehow, Stewart's and Colbert's teams manage to just slice through the BS better than anyone else. In this case, it's the second half of the piece which is particularly bright and compelling.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 12, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I think most everyone here saw this DSCC funding and endorsement of incumbents coming and we pretty much switched our financial contributions to individual candidates. I have given what I could to the Halter campaign but haven't ventured into PA yet, but I think it's time I threw a little moolah Sestak's way. Specter doesn't inspire me in the least and neither does Lincoln.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The national Dems insist that Specter is the only hope of holding the seat because Specter told them so himself! Maybe this is a very good illustration of why the national parties should stay the hell out of primary races.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 12, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

What lms said. Plus I've given $$$ to and am volunteering for the local Dem who's being brave enough to take on my "rep" who's a DINO. . . He (Jim Matheson) touts himself as the only Democrat that we Utahns have in Congress, but he sure votes like a Republican. Out with him, says I!

Posted by: Michigoose | May 12, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I also agree with Gasman re primary races. All politics is local. . .

Posted by: Michigoose | May 12, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

You may have already gone, but thanks for the Stewart link. I especially like his point that no matter what the Obama occasion, the folks at FauxNews have a ready analogy with the most appropriate Bush f*c*up. Hmm, at the time, they didn’t think these WERE f*c*ups, but now they compare them to Obama in a way that concedes that they actually were epic failures.

Stewart: “The crazy part is, it’s conservatives and Republicans that are in the biggest rush to make the comparisons.

‘Remember that terrible thing that Bush did, that we fought for eight years to convince you wasn’t bad but actually good? Well, now we use those very incidents as the low water mark for your guy!’

And, they’re not just interested in comparing Obama’s new problems with Bush’s old problems, They’re also looking to bequeath all that Bush oversaw. Like some kind of cancerous heirloom.”

When you see all of the FauxNews talking heads all parroting the EXACT same talking points, edited together in rapid succession, the transparency and the absurdity of their tactics is brought into sharp focus.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 12, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

All, check this out: House GOP candidates who hate big government but profitted from Cash for Clunkers:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 12, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Spend that money on Specter, Democrats. I love watching you s**w one of your long term supporters for a turncoat Republican. And, even better, after you spend all that money, all you can hope to end up with is a weak-kneed weathervane. Great strategy, knob-heads.

Posted by: hill_marty | May 12, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Marty, do you hear a lot of support for Specter here?

Yeah, that's what I thought you said.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 12, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama is worthless. When the oil spill happened the coast guard was there right away. There was no action by our wonderful government for nine days. Obama's Katrina.

Posted by: farmsnorton | May 12, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

That would be the "United States" Coast Guard.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 12, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The DSCC paying for an ad for Specter is just another reason to stop giving them money and giving money instead to Democratic candidates you like.

Posted by: peterdc | May 12, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama is worthless. When the oil spill happened the coast guard was there right away. There was no action by our wonderful government for nine days. Obama's Katrina.


Must have been some foreign coast guard, huh?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 12, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"Must have been some foreign coast guard, huh?"

Sue, I don't know why we bother to respond, the irony is completely lost to these people.

It was sort of funny though, in an exhausting way.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 12, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

So did the coast guard throw a party while they just sat around for 9 days? Were they catching some rays? Damn commies.

Posted by: obrier2 | May 12, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

That's why I NEVER give to the DNC, DSCC, or DCCC. ActBlue does just fine for giving to candidates with whom I agree, thank you very much.

Posted by: jzap | May 12, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The DSCC paying for an ad for Specter is just another reason to stop giving them money and giving money instead to Democratic candidates you like.

Posted by: peterdc | May 12, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

This is why I only give money to candidates, not to parties. Remembering when politicians actually tried to focus on important issues, and not surrender to party dogma, I've voted for and worked for candidates from both parties, and my son was a Democrat Senate staffer married to a Republican Senate staffer, so we're pretty bi-partisan around our house.

For those who mentioned Specter being a lifelong Republican, he was for 45 years. But he actually won his first election in 1965 as a Democrat, then switched to the Republican party. I was never for term limits before, but I'm beginning to change my mind. Our Founding Fathers showed, by their actions, that they believed they'd established a government of citizen legislators, who'd do their job for a while, then go back to "real" lives. I suspect they're probably spinning in their graves (or tombs) at the concept of anyone being a "public servant" for 45+ years.

Posted by: joann5 | May 12, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Arlan Specter is neither a Democrat not Republican. He's a career political hack without scruples that should not have been recruited the Dems in the first place. What hypocrisy by the DNC to promise change then support this dollar a dance tramp. Maybe Obama should switch parties.

I hope the people of Pennsylvania do the right thing and throw him out on his ear. My god, he wasn't even a good Republican. Totally unprincipled.

Posted by: Reesh | May 12, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Sestak a "lifelong" Democrat? Greg, apparently you don't know that Sestak has been a Democrat only a few years longer than Specter. (If you count Arlen's previous years as a Democrat, he's been a Dem for more years than Sestak.)

When he was recruited by Rahm to run for PA-7, he was an independent who rather suddenly identified with the Democratic party - just like all the other conservative types Rahm recruited.

He was heavily funded by the netroots, and then promptly turned around and voted against our interests - for the war and FISA. (See Nate Silver for a comparison of Sestak's voting record vs. Specter's. Both were moderately conservative until this primary.)

So where this image of Sestak as some kind of progressive champion came from, I don't know. It baffles me. All you have to do is claim to be a progressive, and the money comes rolling in? Sestak had no choice but to go begging to progressives, no one else would give him money.

My prediction: The netroots have funded yet another Blue Dog.

Posted by: uberblonde1 | May 12, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Correction: You said Sestak was a "longtime" Democrat. But he wasn't.

Posted by: uberblonde1 | May 12, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Specter is a great example of what is wrong in Washington. He thinks he's entitled to his seat. He switched knowing he couldn't win the Republican nomination. That stinks to high heaven and the voters of PA should reject this elitist. I'm pulling for Toomy but would take Sestak over Specter anyday. It's time to send Arlen home to enjoy that cushy retirement he voted himself. Come on PA, send a loud message.

Posted by: Jackets | May 12, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The more Specter toe'd the GOP line in Washington, the more wrong he saw it was...

The guy will generally vote a Progressive agenda now, and that's enough to push back any challenge from Limbaugh wingnuts and Teahadists who want to return to the utterly failed policies of the Reagan/Bush era.

Trickle Down, anyone?

Balkingpoints / www, talk to the world

Posted by: RField7 | May 12, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, Rendell is backing Specter. Have been asking the Dem candidates for Governor if they are doing the same, or if they are backing an alternative...

Many in the Philly suburbs loathe Arlen, particularly his record on the environment, which is one place Sestak has some traction.

Haven't been able to trust Specter since he so famously asserted that a bullet can turn around in mid-air. The Anita Hill hearings pretty much clinched it, and he hasn't done a thing to change my mind since.

Posted by: lynncjaeger1 | May 12, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Sestak the "long term Dem" tried to humiliate the Obama administration at the start of his campaign. He also has repeatedly refused to allow voters the opportunity to vet his professional life. As a career Navy officer, Sestak was removed from command under unclear circumstances. Sestak, despite being asked over and over, still refuses to release his professional records for scrutiny.

The spin may be that Specter is in trouble, but Sestak is hiding a lot and Sestak's own ads show the Specter is honest even when it is damaging to be.

Specter has one more thing going for him... Philadelphia is holding a referendum on the BRT or Board of Revisions and Taxes. There is likely to be a very strong turnout in Philadelphia as taxpayers show up to take revenge on an agency that not only epitomizes corruption, but has made life personally difficult for Philly tax payers going on decades. Expect a much larger and more diverse than typical Philly primary turnout. I personally expect this will help Specter.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | May 12, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who has sent money to the democratic party should demand that no more money be wasted on this turncoat as he will lose big time.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | May 12, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Screw Specter.

We don't need Republican Lite or DINO's in the senate or congress.

Already too many elephants in donkey suits in the dem caucuss as it is.

Posted by: jfern03 | May 12, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

1. Dig very deep hole.
2. Toss Spector in the hole.
3. Fill the hole back up.

Posted by: raynetherwood | May 12, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: yourmomscalling | May 13, 2010 3:36 AM | Report abuse

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