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Obama: Specter a man of the people

Sept. 15, 2009 at 6:40 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., isn't in Washington to fight for an ideology but for the people of Pennsylvania, President Obama said Tuesday during a fundraiser.

"This is a man who has voted to raise the minimum wage 20 times because he understands if you work in this society, you shouldn't be in poverty," Obama said during an event for Specter in Philadelphia. "This is a man who's fought for workplace safety and mine safety, who stood up for the American steelworker and American manufacturer; who has voted to extend unemployment benefits time and time again."

Obama noted that Specter was one only three Republicans in the entire Congress to vote for the $787 billion economic stimulus package. Shortly after the vote, Specter switched to the Democratic party.

"You can imagine the pressure he was under from the other side," Obama said. "But Arlen knew that it was more important to answer to the people who sent him to Washington than to the party he belonged to."

Specter's fight for healthcare reform is personal, Obama said

"This is a man who courageously battled cancer, and is here today because he was able to receive some of the best health care available in the world -- and also because he's a tough son of a gun," Obama said.

Obama said Specter faced blistering criticism during healthcare town halls because "he knows how important it is to pass healthcare reform this year."

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