White House bracing for Specter loss: report

By David Edwards
Monday, May 17, 2010 11:31 EDT
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CBS’ Bob Schieffer has been told that the White House expects Sen. Arlen Specter to lose in the Democratic primary Tuesday.

While polls have been close, with a few showing Rep. Joe Sestak with a one or two point lead over Specter, the White House may be privy to insider polling pointing to more of an upset.

“I have been told, you know on background and so forth, that the White House is preparing for a Specter loss here, and that the president doesn’t want to be associated with that now,” Schieffer said Monday morning.

The veteran newsman added, “I’m not sure what kind of an on-the-record response you’d get from the White House but that seems to be what people are saying on background.”

Politics Daily notes,

Rep. Joe Sestak is in a statistical tie with Sen. Arlen Specter heading into Tuesday’s primary in Pennsylvania that will decide the Democratic senate nominee, with Sestak leading 42 percent to 41 percent with 16 percent undecided, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted May 12-16. The margin of error is 3.2 points.


Sestak’s strong showing comes despite the fact that 43 percent of likely voters haven’t heard enough about him to form a
favorable or unfavorable opinion.


The last Muhlenberg College/Daily Call tracking poll, conducted May 12-15, had Sestak and Specter exactly tied at 44 percent each with 11 percent undecided.

Plumline’s Greg Sargent adds,

I’ve also learned that Veep Joe Biden will not be doing any campaign events for Specter in the final stretch, though it’s not immediately clear how significant this is. Last week, Biden said he’d be doing events for Specter “as needed.”


As for Shieffer’s claim that the White House is preparing for a Specter loss, keep in mind that the White House decided against a last-minute visit to Pennsylvania by Obama. Also, the White House would presumably have access to the best intelligence on the race from the DSCC, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and the office of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, all of whom have thrown their weight behind Specter.

So if Shieffer’s right, all these people may be privately telling the White House Specter may be going down. Which means it just may be true.

Earlier this year, as The Morning Call relates, “Sestak mentioned on a radio show that the White House had offered him an administration job in exchange for dropping out of the race against Specter. The claim made people question whether illegal meddling occurred. The White House denied Sestak’s story and then hedged, saying the conversation was not problematic. Sestak refuses to disclose any more details about the alleged offer.”

This video is from CBS 3, broadcast May 17, 2010.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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