U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter's Party Switch

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Note for TV and radio: The University of Pennsylvania has a satellite uplink facility with live-shot capability and an ISDN line.

Experts:

Dr. Rogers Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, is chair of the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism and researches American political thought.

Quote: "Arlen Specter's decision rested on a well-founded judgment that his support for President Obama's stimulus package would probably doom him to defeat in the Republican primary. His shift greatly increases his chances of re-election and his opportunities to remain a major voice in national policy-making. It also may well be the last nail in the coffin of driving the one-dominant moderate Northeastern wing of the Republican Party out of the GOP. Though many conservatives believe they can only return to power by being as ideologically pure as possible, unless the Obama administration fails badly to address the nation's economic and security problems, it is hard to see how the Republicans can grow stronger by becoming fewer."

David Thornburgh director of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, is the former director of the Pennsylvania Economy League, one of the nation’s top regional “think and do tanks.”

Quote: “Senator Specter's decision is a landmark one for the Republican party in
Pennsylvania and across the country. Within Pennsylvania, it acknowledges the recent success that Democrats have had in registering and turning out voters, particularly in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In the national context, at a time of enormous challenge and uncertainty, this decision reminds us of the fierce independence and pragmatism that voters have come to know in Senator Specter over the years. I would expect his independent voice will continue to be heard even as he speaks from the other side of
the aisle.”