Specter’s ’09 Party-Switching Comments Put In Context (VIDEO)

By now Pennsylvania voters have been inundated with an ad showing Sen. Arlen Specter say with a knowing voice that, “My change in party will enable me to be reelected,” a damning clip that hasn’t done the Republican-turned-Democrat any favors. But Pennsylvania station WGAL dug up the original video, and it gives a bit more context to an unhelpful statement.

Specter, now about tied with Rep. Joe Sestak in advance of the Democratic primary on Tuesday, was speaking to reporters in early 2009, just after announcing he was leaving the Republican party.

Specter says, “My change in party will enable me to be reelected, and I have heard that again and again and again on the street. ‘Senator, we’re glad you’ll be able to stay in the Senate and help the state and the nation.'”You could imagine the question preceding the comment was something along the lines of, What are voters telling you, but it is not audible on the clip.

WGAL aired the footage in a brief report caught this afternoon by Huffington Post’s Sam Stein.


See the entire clip here.

Late Update: The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent points out that Specter’s camp posted the newscast, and omitted from their video clip portions of the segment that point out they found no evidence Sestak’s camp manipulated the video “to misrepresent what Specter said.”

Sargent links to the full newscast and writes:

What’s more, the newscasters also dug up another quote from Specter on Meet the Press that approximated the original offending quote:

“It became apparent to me that my chances to be elected on the Republican ticket were bleak.”

The Sestak camp did play it a bit too cute by slicing and dicing Specter’s quote. But the resulting sentiment has been expressed by Specter before, and this response from Specter is also highly questionable. Gettin’ ugly.