Rendell Gets Machiavellian in Specter Switch
Senate ambitions may have played role in governor's courtship
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2009 10:09 AM CDT
In this Feb. 23, 2009, file photo, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., right, talks with Vice President Joe Biden, in the East Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)
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(Newser) – Arlen Specter’s party switch was a "seriously Machiavellian" move by Joe Biden and, particularly, Gov. Ed Rendell, writes Eleanor Clift of Newsweek. Biden’s self-interest in the matter is obvious: Specter represents the all-important 60th Senate vote. But the "gregarious, ambitious" Rendell, an even closer friend of Specter’s, is up to something more personal: He's angling for Specter’s seat.

Specter, 79, seemed bound for primary defeat, which would open the door for Democrat Jim Sestak in the general election. At 57, Sestak could have boxed out Rendell, foiling the maneuver that "would cap his career." For as long as Specter holds the seat, Rendell, “the closest thing to a ward boss in Pennsylvania,” will be a strong ally.