Arlen Specter Blames Jack Kemp’s Death on GOP

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BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me talk to you about a little politics here, while we’re–while we’re at it. I want to ask you about the Republican Party. But let me also ask you this. A lot of people, I would assume, voted for you in your last Senate race because you were a Republican. Do you feel in any way that you let them down or that you had some obligation to them to switch now? It’s one thing to say, you know, you’ve come up to the election and say I want to announce I’m going to run as a Republican, I mean, run as a Democrat the next time out, but to just switch parties in midstream, does that–does that bother you, Senator?

SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER: Well, I was sorry to disappoint many people. Frankly, I was disappointed that the Republican Party didn’t want me as their candidate. But as a matter of principle, I’m becoming much more comfortable with the Democrats’ approach.
And one of the items that I’m working on, Bob, is funding for medical research. I’ve been the spear carrier to increase medical research. And I’ve even established a Web site,, to try to get people to put more pressure on Congress to join me in getting more funding. This medical research has been a reawakening–the ten billion dollars. We were about to lose a whole generation of scientists. And now they’re enthused.

There are fifteen thousand applications to be granted. If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine.

Now, as the New York Times pointed out in a column today, when you talk about life and death and medical research, that’s a much more major consideration on what I can do, continuing in the Senate, contrasted with which party I belong to.

MY COMMENTS: Now I’m not a fan of the Republican Party, but come on Arlen, Cancer. Listen, I know you’re new to the party, but we try not to play as dirty as you may be use to. The GOP is a lot of things, but I don’t know if I can lay the blame for one of their own’s death on them. Jack Kemp was one of the few Republicans I actually liked. Yes, he was a moderate, so he probably would fit into the GOP of today, but I did respect him for his views and willingness to work with Democrats on various issues. I wish his family well.

Arlen, we got to talk. Let me holla at ya for a second.

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2 thoughts on “Arlen Specter Blames Jack Kemp’s Death on GOP

  1. I heard these comments live … so thanks for confirming my initial “huh?”.

    1. Yeah, I guess I have to revise my blog post I did when President Ford died a few years ago titled “The Last Good Republican”. I that one I referenced Jack Kemp. I guess that post was premature, because I think I can honestly say that now one of the “Last Good Republicans” has died. That’s coming later today or tomorrow.

      I actually respected Jack Kemp. I disagreed with his party, but he is basically the example that I’ve been trying to argue these past few months to Republicans. Stop trying to be like Ronald Reagan and start acting like Jack Kemp.

      Arlen Specter doesn’t see the Democratic train coming his way on the Pennsylvania Railroad and he’s about to get derailed. President Obama and Vice-President Biden will not be able to stop it either.

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