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Specter's Kagan problem

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Ok, this is bad timing.

Just as Arlen Specter's poll numbers are tumbling -- with the Sestak camp pummeling him over his ties to the Bush administration -- his opponent has been handed another clawhammer.

Tom Fitzgerald says below that the Specter camp would like Obama to visit in the last week of the primary and boost turnout in Philly. Problem is Obama is introducing his new Supreme Court pick Elena Kagan today, and Specter voted against her nomination as solicitor general in 2009. It doesn't look good against the backdrop of Specter's approval of Bush picks Sam Alito and John Roberts (which Rick Santorum claims Specter agreed upon in order to get his reelection support in 2004).

From Real Clear Politics:

This is the final week of campaigning for two far more high profile races where incumbent Democratic senators have tough fights. The Muhlenberg tracking poll shows Rep. Joe Sestak (D) has now jumped ahead of Arlen Specter (D) in Pennsylvania. A new issue emerges in the stretch run there with Kagan's nomination to the High Court. As pointed out on Twitter by NBC's Chuck Todd, Specter, while still a member of the GOP and a senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, voted against her nomination for Solicitor General. This complicates any potential late visit from Obama.

Our Dan Malloy saw this coming last month. Salon has some more background:

In March 2009, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., faced a difficult primary campaign if he wanted the nomination for another term. So in part to prove his GOP bona fides, he voted against confirming Elena Kagan, President Obama's choice for solicitor general. "I am not prepared to relinquish the institutional prerogatives of the Senate to ask questions," Specter thundered. Kagan had, apparently, been insufficiently forthcoming on her approach to the law.

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