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Sestak Speaks On Strategy

Twenty four hours after his semi-announcement that he would take on Sen. Arlen Specter in next year's Democratic primary, Rep. Joe Sestak laid out his strategy for toppling the incumbent in a conversation with the Fix today.

"The strategy here is that this is the most compelling and daunting four to six years since the Great Depression," said Sestak. "Are we willing to have the right warrior out there?"

Sestak also made clear that he sees a path to the nomination through a series of contrasts with Specter; "It's someone who was in the military for 30 years versus someone who was in Washington for the past 30 years," said Sestak. "I got in to the [House race in 2006] to oppose George Bush and Arlen was voting for him four out of five times."

As for the endorsements of Specter by President Obama and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Sestak dismissed their power to persuade people in primaries. "Endorsements are a bit oversold," he said, adding that average voters are far more concerned with where candidates stand on health care, for example, than they are on endorsements. (Sestak told Greg Sargent of the Plumline blog that he wouldn't drop out of the race even if the president asked him to.)

Sestak also dismissed a new poll out today that showed him down 29 points in a primary against Specter. "It is a snapshot in time," he said. "You can't take much from it."

Although Sestak certainly sounds like a candidate -- and Talking Points Memo broke the news yesterday that he was running -- the congressman said today that nothing is different in terms of his intentions about the race.

"I didn't mean to cause all this," said Sestak. "I am still where I was a week or two ago."

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 28, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Senate  
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As a liberal, I can in no way hope for Specter to prevail. Not a man who says he won't be a good Democrat, will vote against "Eployee Free Choice," doesn't want universal, single payer government health care. As much as I think Obama is head and shoulders above any Republican, I still think he needs to be reigned in a little. I hope the voters do just that, and vote in Joe Sestak.

Posted by: nwsjnky1 | June 1, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Rep Sestak says
"I got in to the [House race in 2006] to oppose George Bush and Arlen was voting for him four out of five times."

Will PA voters find that as damning now as they might have 2 years ago? I suspect that line of attack is past its prime. Joe just may be setting himself up for an expensive & embarrassing lesson from the old bull.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 29, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

If Sestek is in, Labor in Pa. will likely buck the President & side with Sestek. Rendell will offer his organizational support for Specter, which is huge. Remember, Obama couldn't beat the Pa. establishment in the Pa. primary as Hillary Clinton beat Obama. With the moderates in the Democratic party, I think the establishment will pull enough liberals for Specter to be okay in a Sestek primary. Specter should have bucked both parties and ran as an independent. Then it would be Specter vs. Sestek vs. Toomey. A much better GE.

Posted by: reason5 | May 29, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"the frog-faced southern Senators would have been on the TEE-vee"

That's funny. I was just having a conversation last night as to how Southerners pronounce TV with the emphasis on the T while Northerners put it on the V.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 29, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

You see -- things have changed. Kids don't care. And the old ones archaic beleifs will die out with them.


Imagine four states legalizing gay marriage in so short a span of time ten years ago. Republicans would have been howling from the upper branches, donations would be pouring into Focus on the Family and the other hate groups, the frog-faced southern Senators would have been on the TEE-vee foaming at the mouth, every social conservative group in America would be running ads. There would have been prayer-rallies all across the bibble belt, and pro-life groups would be cashing in as well "me some too."

Now, with the GOP in rags, the conservative movement in complete disarray, Americans are stifling yawns. This would have been the energizing watershed of the decade, but there hasn't even been a whimper. The best they can muster is a few retread repeats of the old "threat to traditional marriage," the "marry your dog" argument, and a few half-hearted stabs at tying in The Childrun.

And we're talking about GAYS GETTING MARRIED here.

Anyone who needs any more evidence that conservatism has run its course, that person must be as demented as JakeD.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 29, 2009 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Oh, great! So, is he accepting donations or not?

Posted by: JakeD


I doubt he wants your cigar box of pennies

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 28, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

like Joe Sestak


makemoney $9547 a day ..Hot

Posted by: bannic | May 28, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

You see -- things have changed. Kids don't care. And the old ones archaic beleifs will die out with them.

LOS ANGELES – An openly gay teen was voted prom queen at Los Angeles' Fairfax High School in a campaign that began as a stunt but ended up spurring discussion on the campus about gender roles and teen popularity. Sergio Garcia, 18, was crowned queen Saturday night at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
"I feel invincible," Garcia said in his tiara and charcoal-gray tuxedo.

A few days earlier, he gave a speech that won over some cynics and led to an ovation and his unlikely victory.

"At one time, prom may have been a big popularity contest where the best-looking guy or girl were crowned king and queen. Things have changed and it's no longer just about who has the most friends or who wears the coolest clothes," Garcia told a gymnasium full of seniors. "I'm not your typical prom queen candidate. There's more to me than meets the eye."
Garcia assured the crowd he wouldn't wear a dress on prom night.

"I will be wearing a suit," he said. "But don't be fooled, deep down I am a queen."

The school, which sits at the end of the rows of chic shops on Melrose Avenue and was once attended by members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has long been a haven for students who would be considered outcasts at many schools.

Garcia said he saw fliers advertising the prom and the election, and they didn't specify that the queen must be a girl. He thought the role would suit him better than prom king.

"I don't wish to be a girl," he told the Los Angeles Times. said. "I just wish to be myself."

Posted by: drindl | May 28, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The Whig Party was considerably saner.

Posted by: drindl | May 28, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Specter will either prevail, and show the last of the patriotic Republicans a way out of their America-hating Party of No, or will fail and we'll remember the GOP like we do the Whig Party.

Posted by: WillSeattle | May 28, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I like Joe Sestak, I really do. But I think that as a freshman congressman, and as first-time elected official, he should spend at least a little more time in the House before running for the Senate.

Patience, Joe. Specter is getting old and won't be around too much longer.

Can you hold off until 2016?

Posted by: Bondosan | May 28, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, great! So, is he accepting donations or not?

Posted by: JakeD | May 28, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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