On a conference call with reporters just now, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) talked about why he is endorsing Rep. Joe Sestak's (D-PA) challenge in the Democratic primary against Sen. Arlen Specter, who switched form the Republicans to the Dems in April -- and said that the integrity of the political system is an issue in the race.
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Sestak said that when word had first got out that he would be running against Specter in the primary, Frank approached him and said, "Joe, I would love to support you."
Frank laid out the reasons he was for Sestak, citing his record on issues such as national security and the economy. "I also think frankly that this is important for the integrity of the political system," said Frank. "Sen. Specter has a very distinguished political career but he made it clear that he ad left the party he had been in for along time solely because he didn't think he could be re-elected in that party, and he changed his views on a number of issues."
I asked Frank whether he meant that President Obama, Vice President Biden and other Democrats were damaging the party's credibility by supporting Specter. "I think they are mistaken," said Frank. "I think - I understand the impulse, it is that we want to encourage converts, and I understand that. I do think though in this case, given the strength of a candidate like Joe Sestak, that they're making a mistake."
"I understand why he would want to focus on getting to the 60th vote," Frank later added. "I understand that, but it doesn't bind the rest of us."