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Specter: Pragmatism will appeal to voters

May 16, 2010 at 12:55 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., said Sunday his record would stand up with voters in the upcoming primary despite strong anti-incumbent sentiment.

The former Republican who is in a tough race with Rep. Joe Stesak, D-Pa., said he has a history as a consensus-builder in Washington that demonstrates he looks out for the American people ahead of party politics.

"In the context of being an independent, it is true," Specter said on CNN's "State of the Union. "I am not ideologically bound."

Specter has been in the Senate for 30 years and would seemingly be a lock for re-election, though some analysts say switching parties may seem to voters as a purely political maneuver to latch on to President Obama's then-enormous popularity.

Specter replied that his decision was based on the overriding need to reform healthcare and launch the economic stimulus program for the benefit of voters. "If I had stayed with the obstructionist Republican caucus, I would have been re-elected easily, especially in an out-year when the party out of power is favored," he said.

Stesak, a retired Navy vice admiral, told CNN that while the Democratic establishment was backing Specter, he was both a pragmatist and a solid Democrat. "I don't characterize myself as left or right," he said. "I look at myself as very pragmatic."

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