I knew Senator Arlen Specter a little bit and I was sorry yesterday to hear of his passing. He was a fighter. I think on that we can all agree.
Back in my political campaign days it was impossible not to run into him, to hear of him, to worry about what he thought of this person or that person. He was a huge presence that both frustrated and inspired Republicans in Pennsylvania (and I’m sure nationally.) He was frustrating obviously because of his inconsistent voting record and inspiring because he was proof that Republicans could win in Pennsylvania’s suburbs.
His endorsement was a huge deal for candidates in the Philly suburbs. I dealt often with his beleaguered staff and occasionally with him. I say his staff was beleaguered because Specter, according to everything I ever heard, was very very tough to work for.
I remember a time, a decade ago now, I was setting up a press conference for a candidate with Senator Specter. I was very new to the campaign world. I told Specter’s field person that we’d have it at a park and we’d talk about the environment…