Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter, until last April a Republican, has pulled out the jams in his criticisms of his former party, telling Fox News Sunday that the GOP has become a "party of obstructionism."
But that obstructionism won't stop substantial health care reform from being passed, Specter implied, saying that the public option for health care being debated in Congress is "gaining momentum."
"I'm not prepared to [concede] at all," Specter told Fox News' Chris Wallace. "I think the public option is gaining momentum. We had a forceful speech by President Obama yesterday on his Saturday talk show, emphasizing the importance of a robust public option."
Added the senator: "I'm not going to step back a bit."
As is the case with the debate in Congress itself, the policy differences at the roundtable played themselves out within the Democratic Party. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) said he "would not support any public option tied to Medicare levels of reimbursement."
Conrad pushed for the idea of not-for-profit cooperatives that would compete with for-profit insurers. Specter replied that a robust public option could meet Conrad's conditions for support.
Then Specter launched into rant against his former party, saying: "On the Republican side it is no no no, a party of obstructionism. ... You have responsible Republicans who have been to the Senate, like Howard Baker and Bob Dole and Bill Frist, who say Republicans ought to cooperate. Well they're not cooperating."
As evidence, Specter said, "Take a look at the absence of any Republican plan."
This video is from Fox's Fox News Sunday, broadcast Oct. 18, 2009.