U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and Gov. Rendell took some shots at U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak this morning, in advance of next Tuesday's primary election. They were both clearly peeved by a Sestak campaign ad that features video of Specter saying he switched from Republican to Democrat in order to be re-elected. The ad says Specter's switch was made "to save one job...his."
Specter insisted that his vote for the stimulus package proposed by President Obama had helped save and create jobs in Pennsylvania, while putting at risk his political career. Specter is seeking a sixth, six-year term in the Senate. Rendell said he was offended by the Sestak ad. "He wasn't thinking about saving his job," Rendell said of Specter. "He was risking his job." Rendell said state statistics show there are 20,558 people currently working on jobs created by the stimulus package. "So don't tell me Arlen Specter doesn't create jobs by taking a risky vote," Rendell said.
Specter said he could have glided to a sixth term if he had voted against the stimulus package and remained in the GOP. "If I had stayed with the obstructionist Republican caucus, I would have had no problem," Specter said. "This claim of opportunism is outlandish in the context that I had a clear path to re-election if I had not voted for the stimulus package."
Rendell and Specter spoke as the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity endorsed Specter in the offices of a Center City law firm. Specter said it vital for city voters, especially the African-American community, to turn out on Tuesday. Mayor Nutter agreed. "This is a serious and important election," Nutter said. "We've got an open seat for governor. We've got the hottest race for Senate in the country."
A visit by Obama would probably help drive that turn-out. But the White House has no plans to come to Philadelphia for Specter, who said he did not find that disappointing. Specter noted that he is running a "dynamic commercial" with Obama praising him and Vice President Joe Biden appears in his radio ads. "He's done everything I asked," Specter said of Obama. "We've gotten terrific support from the White House."