Yesterday the Hill reported that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Pennsylvania to raise funds for recently minted Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. (And to think it was less than six years ago that Specter was enlisting the support of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Rick Santorum.) Obama will go to bat for Specter on Sept. 15 and the details of the Biden event are still being worked out.
Just three days before this announcement, Specter seemed to flip on card check. When he bolted the Republican Party earlier this year, Specter said he would not change his position on the legislation known as the Employee Free Choice Act. On April 28, he vowed: “I will not be an automatic 60th vote and I would illustrate that by my position on employees’ choice, also known as card check. I think it is a bad deal and I am opposed to it and would not vote to invoke cloture.”
But on August 14, Ari Melber of the Nation asked Specter, “Is it fair to say that on the climate legislation, on Employees Free Choice, on the public option health care plan, these are all areas where you would be voting with the majority for cloture to have straight up or down votes?” Specter replied, “Yes. No doubt about those three issues. At all.”
No doubt about voting for cloture on the Employee Free Choice Act? Specter’s apparent flip raises questions of a quid pro quo, in which the senator who said “I have not traded my vote in the past and I would not do so now” gets in line exchange for stepped up White House support. Or perhaps both his most recent EFCA change of heart and the Obama-Biden fundraisers are due to feeling the heat from liberal primary challenger Joe Sestak. After all, the normally pro-union Specter’s opposition to card check was in response to a conservative Republican primary challenge by Pat Toomey.
UPDATE: A group called the Workplace Fairness Institute is out with a petition and fairly damning video asking Specter to clarify his position.
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