Sunday, May 16, 2010

Specter Event in Ambler

Having attended a few events with one of the Democratic senatorial candidates, I took advantage of an opportunity to see the other. Sen. Arlen Specter was the featured speaker at a campaign event in Ambler yesterday. The warm up crew included Gov. Ed Rendell, State Reps Rick Taylor, Mike Gerber, and Matt Bradford, Mayor Bud Wahl, and Montgomery County Democratic chair Marcel Groen. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz was listed as a host on the invitation but I arrived late so if she attended I missed it. The event was scheduled to start at 2:30 and I got there close to 3:30.

I didn’t get a good count but there were quite a few people there, including some boys in baseball uniforms sponsored by Taylor. Bradford’s young daughter joined him on the stage and was very patient with all the speeches. A dad in the crowd held a baby.

In his remarks Taylor said as an undergraduate political science student he wrote a paper on Specter. He held up a dog-eared copy of Specter’s Learning to Legislate and read a quote on the importance of listening to constitutents.

Rendell said Specter is for Pennsylvanians not for Republicans. He cited times when he tried to get things done and couldn’t but Specter could. One example is the Department of Agriculture’s proposal to end some school lunches in Philadelphia schools. Since Rendell had known the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, when he was the governor of Iowa, he assumed Vilsack would be receptive to his concerns. He wasn’t, but did respond to Specter’s calls.

Rendell also said Specter could have voted “no” on the stimulus bill and stayed a Republican. Pat Toomey didn’t decide to run until Specter voted “yes” on the stimulus. Specter risked his job for the good of the country and Pennsylvania. He also talked about conference calls he was on with Specter and county Democratic chairs and how many of those chairs knew Specter and said he had helped them with issues or problems.

When Specter arrived he asked Mayor Wahl about his daughter, who had had a stem cell transfer for a medical problem. Wahl pointed out that Specter had voted for stem cell research. Wahl seemed surprised that Specter was asking about it. The question did not seem rehearsed.

Specter described his campaign ad featuring President Obama. He mentioned the part where Obama says “I love Arlen Specter.” At the end of the ad Specter has the required “I approve this ad” tagline. Specter said ‘Who the hell wouldn’t approve that ad?” He said no one had ever make love to him on camera before and he liked it. The line drew a laugh.

He said Toomey is a tough opponent but that he had beaten Toomey before and could do it again. He went on to say Toomey is against a woman’s right to choose, and wanted doctors doing legal abortions to go to jail. He called Toomey a Wall Street operative.

Two side notes:

About 10 to 12 people stood across the street holding Sestak signs. (Really Sestak people, really? Three days before the polls open you don’t have better things to do? No doors to knock on, no undecided voters to call?). Specter said he went over to greet them when he arrived and one woman dropped her sign to hug him.

Second, and this is a purely personal observation, regards the stage. It is a platform about one step up from the floor, large enough to hold a handful of speakers or a small band. The microphone is near the edge. When Rendell spoke the toes of his shoes went over the edge a few times and at one point he wobbled just a bit and shifted his balance back. Knowing Specter’s age I was a little worried about how he would handle this. He toes were over the edge the entire time he spoke and he shifted his direction slightly constantly, turning to face different parts of the room and look at everyone there throughout his remarks. He didn’t wobble once. I was impressed.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for covering the rally. After thirty years in Washington, there has to be something the Specter has done that every one of us will disagree with. On the whole, he has been out there working for the people of Pennsylvania, whether they are Rs or Ds. I buy his contention that he switched parties because the Rs moved so far right that, as a moderate, he could no longer caucus with them. As far as the charge that he is a "professional politician," think about that for a minute. If you are sick, do you want a professional doctor, if you can't read, should you learn from a certified teacher and if you are charged with a crime, I hope you have access to a professional lawyer. Me, I want an experienced, professional politician like Arlen Specter to go back to Washington.

FJG JR said...

Phooey! Democrat colleagues don't trust him, and Republicans now hate him. He has been rendered ineffective, and must retire. Sure Rendell will endorse his East Falls neighbor, but he's done now, and doesn't reall have to deal with oncoming issues. So AAJ, better pick that woman's sign up for her, and back a winner. And as military person at thaT.

FJG JR said...

No way Jane. Specter and only Specter is the National trend vote. Why are you confusing voter's? Especially seniors who support freedom of speech (tea partie types) and get accused of treason by their senate. And what about "NO" social security colas for three years. Stop distoring the election, Specter losing is our issue natioanally. Any person, especially a Senator, who throws mud at a military person, who sticks their heads out for us, don't deserve to sit in a seat in Washington D.C., paid for by us Americans.