Biden Wooed Specter for Years

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2009 10:49 AM CDT
Biden and Specter today, after the switch.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Joe Biden is the Democrat perhaps most responsible for Arlen Specter’s defection, Politico reports. The VP told a crowd yesterday that he had been trying to convince the Pennsylvania Republican “that he is really a Democrat” for more than 20 years. Specter's onetime Senate colleague recently stepped up the pace. “I have been working on that in earnest for the past 4 years and double-time for the past 100 days,” Biden said.

Biden says he told his friend—“a close friend, maybe the closest friend” in the Senate—that “your party has left you.” Biden doesn’t expect Specter to toe the Democratic line but said the move allowed him more freedom. “The point is that Arlen now is freed up to vote in a way that he doesn’t have to worry about angering his leadership,” he said. “It’s good for my friend Arlen, it’s also good for our party, but it’s even better for the country.”