After the airport rally yesterday with Vice President Joe Biden I got a chance to ask Senator Arlen Specter a couple of questions. My full report of the event will be forthcoming.
The Vice President made a compelling case to Democrats to vote for you although you were a Republican. What do you tell a lifelong Democrat like myself who never voted for you in the past why should I vote for you this time?
My roots go back to the Democratic Party originally. My parents were immigrants, FDR immigrants, hard hit by the depression. I was a JFK Democrat even served as one of the young lawyers on Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy. Came back to Philadelphia were I won some big cases and wanted to run for DA on the Democratic ticket but the party leaders said we don’t want an honest, tough DA in Philadelphia which won’t shock anybody about Philadelphia. The Republican Party came to me and said we haven’t won an election in a long time run on our ticket no strings attached. I didn’t even change my registration I ran as a Democrat on the Republican ticket ,won, and for a long time tried to bring some moderation to the Republican Party. And when President Obama wanted the stimulus package and we were about to slide into a 1929 Depression I simply would not be part of Republican obstructionism and I joined Obama. During my tenure in the Senate I have voted with Democrats probably more often on the big issues than with Republicans. I supported a woman’s right to choose, I opposed Bork. It would be a different country with Bork. I’m pro labor and got the AFL-CIO endorsement. I’m against warentless wiretapping, against Guantanamo and in favor of raising the minimum wage. Provided the 60th vote for the health care package. When August came I went out to the town hall meetings and defended Obama and the health care package
Part of the Military Commissions Act says that the government can declare a United States citizen arrested in the US an enemy combatant and hold them indefinitely. Is there any chance you can revisit that?
I think that’s wrong unless there is probable cause and a reason to hold them. The federal courts have taken jurisdiction over habeas corpus which I have pushed and I think that is an issue to be revisited and I think that the courts are taking it up. You have seen some limitations on detentions. There has to be a reason, there has to be a risk to the United States government on an evidentiary basis before that kind of detention can be justifiable.
11 hours ago