Clout: Specter: Palin is a fox

"Still she was a total charmer, very friendly" Specter writes. "The few things she said were intelligent. We were sitting virtually knee-to-knee in the cramped bus, and she radiated sensuality. Her skirt rode up above the knees - not exactly short, but close."
"Still she was a total charmer, very friendly" Specter writes. "The few things she said were intelligent. We were sitting virtually knee-to-knee in the cramped bus, and she radiated sensuality. Her skirt rode up above the knees - not exactly short, but close."
Posted: March 16, 2012

FORMER U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter was in the air in 2008 when the Republican nominee for president, U.S. Sen. John McCain, revealed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his pick for vice president.

"Who?" Specter recalls asking when his flight landed.

A few months later, Specter rode with McCain and Palin on the "Straight Talk Express" bus to introduce them at a Delaware County rally.

Specter writes in his new book - Life Among the Cannibals: A Political Career, a Tea Party Uprising and the End of Governing as We Know It - that Palin "sat silent" while he urged McCain to support a policy she opposed on embryonic stem-cell research.

"Still she was a total charmer, very friendly" Specter writes. "The few things she said were intelligent. We were sitting virtually knee-to-knee in the cramped bus, and she radiated sensuality. Her skirt rode up above the knees - not exactly short, but close."

Steamy stuff.

The book, to be released for sale March 27, takes a different tone when Specter settles scores with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who encouraged Specter's 2009 switch to the Democratic Party, which failed to save Specter's bid for a sixth term.

Specter said a black minister from Pittsburgh urged him to have Obama campaign in Pennsylvania in the days before the 2010 Democratic primary to help turn out the African-American vote. The White House shot down the idea, even though Obama was crisscrossing the region just before the primary.

"I realized that the president and his advisers were gun-shy about supporting my candidacy after being stung by Obama's failed rescue attempts for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley," Specter writes. "They were reluctant to become victims of a trifecta."

Specter, who turned down the offer of a last-minute campaign appearance by Biden because of the expense, lost the primary to U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, who lost the general election to former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey.

Specter's ire toward Obama hasn't cooled since. He told the Inquirer in January that the Democratic Party should think about dumping Obama and running Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president this year.

That drew a phone call from a "ranking official" in the Obama campaign, Specter told us yesterday. But the call went to his son, Shanin Specter, not him.

"He responded by giving them my phone number," Specter said. "I never heard from them. So whatever the complaint was, they didn't take it up with me."

You'll hear more from Specter on April 1, when WHYY-TV in Philadelphia runs the pilot episode of "The Whole Truth," the news program he's developing for Maryland Public Television.

Erin-go-brouhaha

John Dougherty, leader of the electricians union and grand marshal of the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade, had some concerns after Philadelphia magazine last week blogged about a comment he made during a six-month tour of events to raise money to pay for the parade. Dougherty, speaking at a country club in Delaware County, told a crowd he was "proud to be Irish, Democrat, Catholic, union and white."

It was that last part that raised some eyebrows.

As Dougherty told us yesterday, he has been trying to put the focus for St. Patrick's Day back onto Irish culture, by talking about the Irish Memorial to victims of that country's famine in the mid-1800s, by passing out copies of the book How the Irish Saved Civilization, and by protesting the garish items sold in Spencer Gifts stores like the "Lush-of-the-Irish" green-felt top hat with shot glasses on the brim.

Dougherty said he's been making similar comments in public speeches for 20 years, talking about Irish culture, not race.

"My father told me we had to be proud that we were white, Catholic, Irish, union and Democrat," Dougherty said. "This is about being proud of who you are and standing together."

'Undecided' in the lead

Former state Rep. Sam Rohrer, a tea-party favorite with a record of challenging the Republican Party leadership, has some competition suddenly for the role of outsider in the GOP primary-election race for the U.S. Senate.

A state party-backed ballot challenge against David Christian, a Bucks County business consultant, was dropped this week after paperwork was filed to fix some issues with nominating petitions.

Christian, who had lashed out at the challenge as "shameful" and as "strong-arm tactics," told us the challenge cost his campaign crucial time and money.

"I don't know how I became the anti-establishment candidate in Pennsylvania," he said. "It threw my campaign off track. It's hard to raise money when your horse is not running."

The party, at Gov. Corbett's urging, endorsed Malvern venture capitalist Steve Welch in January, a move Rohrer denounced as an effort to "suppress the will of Republican voters."

So the GOP primary will be a five-man field, with Harrisburg attorney Marc Scaringi and Armstrong County coal-company owner Tom Smith also on the ballot.

They have a lot of ground to cover to get voters to know them. A Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday put "undecided" in a strong 48 percent lead for the Republican primary.

The poll also shows Rohrer and Smith are best-known, with three out of four voters saying they had not heard of them. About 83 percent have not heard of the three other candidates.

The poll shows that U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. holds a lead on all the Republican candidates, ranging from 15 percent (on Rohrer) to 20 percent (on Scaringi and Welch).

Quotable:

"I don't know how you can make anybody watch, because you just have to close your eyes."

- Gov. Corbett, speaking to reporters this week about legislation he supports that would force women in Pennsylvania to have an ultrasound before an abortion.


Have tips or suggestions? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or e-mail

brennac@phillynews.com.

Check out the Clout blog at:

phillyclout.com and follow on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN.

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