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Nasty and desperate in Pennsylvania?

Okay, this is pretty deep in the weeds. But it's worth it.

Arlen Specter is now accusing Joe Sestak of dishonestly plucking his words out of context in a brutal attack ad Sestak is running. But in making this accusation, the Specter campaign did some hilariously questionable cherry-picking of their own.

Here's the story: The Specter campaign is holding a presser today to denounce this Sestak ad that airs footage of Specter discussing his switch from the GOP to Dem this way:

"My change in party will enable me to be reelected."

This quote has become central to the race as a sign of Specter's opportunism. In response, the Specter campaign has posted video of part of a local newscast that purports to prove Sestak's ad dishonestly edited Specter's quote. That newscast airs footage of the fuller quote from Specter:

My change in party will enable me to be reelected. And I have heard that again and again and again on the street: "Senator, we're glad you'll be able to stay in the Senate and help the state and the nation."

It's true the full context changes the meaning of the quote somewhat. But here's where it gets funny: The video the Specter camp posted omitted key parts of that newscast that more or less exonerated the Sestak team.

In the full newscast that the Specter team didn't post, the newscaster acknowledged that there was more to the Specter quote than Sestak had said, but added:

"We didn't find any evidence it was changed to misrepresent what Specter said."

What's more, the newscasters also dug up another quote from Specter on Meet the Press that approximated the original offending quote:

"It became apparent to me that my chances to be elected on the Republican ticket were bleak."

The Sestak camp did play it a bit too cute by slicing and dicing Specter's quote. But the resulting sentiment has been expressed by Specter before, and this response from Specter is also highly questionable. Gettin' ugly.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 13, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems  
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Comments

Specter did charge that Sestak also used his picture in ads where he was in chemo. Again, I don't like Specter, but is that right?

Posted by: calchala | May 13, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I saw Specter on Tweety's show yesterday and he looks like a beaten man (Specter, not Tweety). I think Specter knows he's going down.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 13, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Advanced age is no disqualification for an individual being a robust representative in government. But I have to say, McCain and Specter are really showing their age.

There's an art to knowing how to quit while you're ahead.

If I were a PA voter, I'd feel that a change of the guard is needed.

Lincoln, on the other hand, has no such excuse. She's terrible now and will probably get worse.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 13, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if privately, the WH is fine with Sestak winning.

On a side note, I stumbled across this Google graphing tool for the unemployment numbers with numbers derived from BLS. Enjoy.

http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemployment&met=unemployment_rate

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 13, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I still wonder if the timing of the Kagan nomination was at least in part meant to help Sestak. If the Blue Dogs or other would be recalcitrant Dems understood this to be the case, it would represent a mighty big shot across their respective bows by President Obama.

I'm not saying the timing was solely for Sestak's benefit, but if the White House was really interested in helping Specter, why not delay the Kagan announcement until May 19th?

As for Specter, it's been a long time since he has shown any class, why should he start now?

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 13, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Totally O/T (my apologies)

It turns out that CNN's Conservative talking head Eric Erick Ericks Erickson has come out as ... a Republican! Who knew? Anyway, that's not what's so interesting. Erick the Erick runs a Conservative-Republican blog and has just published his manifesto calling for the Sacred Union of Conservatives and Republicans into -- I'm making this up here -- the Conservapub Party. The screed is a bit long but take a look if you like and notice something: There is not ONE SINGLE statement of political principle other than -- if this even qualifies -- that the Conservapubs (a/k/a, "the GOP") favors "freedom" while the rotten Democrats want "equality." That's it for the policy platform that binds together in Sacred Union the disparate tribes formerly called Conservatives and Republicans. Amazing. That tells you something important: the GOP (and/or Conservatives and/or Teapartiers) HAVE NO POLICY IDEAS. None! All they have is slogans, polls, propaganda and marketing campaigns. Democrats may wish to point this out.

http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/05/13/conservative-but-also-republican/

Posted by: wbgonne | May 13, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Agreed that WH is giving tepid support to Specter. I wish they'd back off in AR. Let nature take its course.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 13, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I dunno -- OFA is cranking like mad for Specter, and the DSCC is bankrolling his ads. Biden is going to the state.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 13, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Why the hell would Obama NOT want to skewer both Lincoln and Specter? It's not like they have been reliable allies on any issue nor are they likely to suddenly become supportive. To the extent that the White House is involved at all in primaries, Obama should be visibly seen taking out Lincoln and Specter. THAT might get the message across to the other Blue Dogs.

What's the downside? Neither of those two could be counted on anyway, no matter what the stakes.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 13, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

When the WH announced Kagan's selection that put Specter in a tough spot when he least needed it. I assumed that the timing was significant. And then I saw that Obama wasn't going to PA. Mmmm. Sounds like I'm mistaken. Or maybe they're playing both sides of the street? I really hope the WH doesn't isn't seen to have put Specter over the top. That will hurt big-time in the base.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 13, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Conservapub Party????? Why not just go with Repiglican?

As Johnny Mac would say "You can't be serious!"

Erik Erikson must be a progressive mole out to discredit republicans, given all of the truly idiotic things he says and does....

Posted by: srw3 | May 13, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Gasman1 - They're still in the Senate until Jan. They need their votes until then.

Posted by: calchala | May 13, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"or maybe they're playing both sides of the street?"

obama? playing both sides of the street? couldn't be!

Posted by: skippybkroo | May 13, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

The 80 year old wants to stay in office longer?
The RINO turned Democrat cannot find the votes?
GO HOME, your time has passed.
Why do these OLD OLD politicians want to continue to stay in office vice retiring?
Things that make you go... hmmm ($$$).

Posted by: GregBoo | May 13, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

We will purge the system of all who do not live up to the OATH THEY TOOK !!!!

election day is coming USURPER IN CHIEF !!!

Posted by: yourmomscalling | May 14, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

President Obama may have his own compulsions for endorsing Arlen Specter, but the last time I checked up, Obama was not registered to vote in the Pennsylvania primary. Voting will be done by ordinary Pennsylvanians, who know very well how to deal with a slimy TURNCOAT.
President Obama would do well to concentrate on the job for which we sent him to the White House. We voters in Pennsylvania will deal with the traitor Specter ourselves on Tuesday.

Posted by: alzach01 | May 16, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

President Obama may have his own compulsions for endorsing Arlen Specter, but the last time I checked up, Obama was not registered to vote in the Pennsylvania primary. Voting will be done by ordinary Pennsylvanians, who know very well how to deal with a slimy TURNCOAT.
President Obama would do well to concentrate on the job for which we sent him to the White House. We voters in Pennsylvania will deal with the traitor Specter ourselves on Tuesday.

Posted by: alzach01 | May 16, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

President Obama may have his own compulsions for endorsing Arlen Specter, but the last time I checked up, Obama was not registered to vote in the Pennsylvania primary. Voting will be done by ordinary Pennsylvanians, who know very well how to deal with a slimy TURNCOAT.
President Obama would do well to concentrate on the job for which we sent him to the White House. We voters in Pennsylvania will settle accounts ourselves on this Tuesday with the traitor Specter.

Posted by: alzach01 | May 16, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the Obama WH is playing three-dimensional chess on this one. Specter put his political life on the line to support the stimulus package, and has been a faithful party member since joining the Democratic caucus. Not to mention that Sestak publicly accused the White House of trying to pay him off with a job if he dropped out of the race. I wouldn't consider that an action calculated to cultivate a positive response from the White House. So I am pretty sure we can assume the WH really does want Specter to win.

So far as critical votes, Sestak is in the range of a Jim Webb or a Ben Nelson; hardly a rampant progressive. And the only major paper in PA to endorse Sestak is Scaife's Tribune Review, which has been an adamant backer of Toomey for years. Not sure if it was because the paper despises Specter, which it does, or because it thinks Sestak will be easier to beat, which he will.

As for alzach01's comments, the only thing Specter has been a "traitor" to is an increasingly right-wing GOP. I doubt that bothers Democratic voters enough to kick him out.

Posted by: aravir1 | May 17, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

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