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9.1.04

Arlen Specter's Not Sure Where He Stands

Specter Points To Seniority At Kickoff

... Joe Hoeffel, a Montgomery County Democrat who is unopposed in the primary [for one of Pennsylvania's seats in the US Senate], contends [Republican incumbent Arlen] Specter has damaged Pennsylvania by abandoning his moderate record in support of President Bush's agenda.

... Specter dismissed the attacks out of hand.

''In a political campaign, my opponents are likely to say anything,'' Specter said in Philadelphia. ''I have a very strong record of independence.''

... But he and [PA Senator Rick] Santorum also stressed that Specter has been a ''team player'' for Republicans and the Bush administration on key fights, such as the tax cuts or confirming Bush's judiciary nominees.


So when his opponent says he's helped Bush, Specter says it's not true. But when his ally says the same thing, he agrees. You might want to get your story straight, there, Arlen. The most charitable reading I can give it is that Hoeffel says that Specter's allegience to Bush is a change from his past moderate ways, whereas Santorum claims that the two are consistent, and indeed that Specter has shown that the Bush agenda is palatable to moderates.

This has to be taken in context of the central claim of Specter's Republican challenger, Pat Toomey, who says Specter is too moderate. Toomey and Hoeffel take basically opposite positions on whether Specter is a moderate (yes and no), and whether Pennsylvania ought to have a moderate Senator (no and yes). Specter's position seems to be "who cares how moderate I am -- I brought in the pork for this state." If pork is what Pennsylvanians really care about, then Hoeffel is out of luck, seeing as Congressional Republicans have done a good job of locking Democratic districts out of the spending frenzy.

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