Arlen Specter

Longtime GOP maverick Arlen Specter dead at 82

Longtime GOP maverick Arlen Specter dead at 82

For most of his 30 years as Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. senator and prominent moderate in Congress, Arlen Specter was a Republican, though often at odds with the GOP leadership. He helped end the Supreme Court hopes of former federal appeals Judge Robert H. Bork, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Decades later, he was […]

Republicans may regret focus on social issues

Republicans may regret focus on social issues

The longer GOP presidential candidates compete for conservative activists’ favor, the more they risk alienating centrist voters who might feel that arguments over birth control are crowding out talk about how to create jobs. Wednesday’s televised debate highlighted the dilemma. The four contenders engaged in long, sometimes dense discussions of Planned Parenthood, education policy and […]

Arlen Specter’s farewell: A stinging rebuke to the system

Arlen Specter’s farewell: A stinging rebuke to the system

Departing Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter on Tuesday said conservative Republicans who backed tea party challengers against establishment candidates in the recent elections engaged in political cannibalism. In his final floor speech, Specter complained there’s scant room for centrists like himself in a polarized Senate where civility is in short supply. “In some quarters, compromise has […]

Question of the day: Who really wanted Meek out of Florida Senate race?

Question of the day: Who really wanted Meek out of Florida Senate race?

Florida’s three-way Senate race grew testier Friday as the last-place Democratic candidate denied claims that former President Bill Clinton had advised him to drop out, saying the idea came instead from his independent rival, Gov. Charlie Crist. Rep. Kendrick Meek went on national morning TV news shows to swat down reports that he had told […]

GOP looks to win any way it can

GOP looks to win any way it can

In the turbulent year of the tea party, Republican Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware set out to jangle no nerves as he ran for a Senate seat long held by Vice President Joseph Biden. It’s the way Republican strategists originally envisioned 2010, a roster of seasoned politicians pointing the party toward significant gains in the […]

Murkowski throws in the towel

Murkowski throws in the towel

Sen. Lisa Murkowski was booted from office in the Republican primary Tuesday by a little-known conservative lawyer in arguably the biggest political upset of the year. Joe Miller, backed by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, became the latest newcomer to the national political stage to take down an incumbent in 2010 amid deep […]

Another incumbent goes down

Another incumbent goes down

Incumbents beware. Another lawmaker just bit the dust. Michigan Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick lost her bid for an eighth term on Tuesday, her son’s legal woes dragging her down in a year when fickle voters seem eager to fire longtime lawmakers. She’s the sixth — and the fourth in the House — to lose so […]

Democrats can’t win without independent voters

Democrats can’t win without independent voters

Democrat Joe Sestak — a son of the Philadelphia suburbs — needs the independent voters in his backyard as he campaigns for a Senate seat in a swing state that may tilt Republican this year. Independents have been turning away from President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, frustrated with the economic downturn and administration […]

Financial reform runs into snag

Financial reform runs into snag

President Barack Obama’s efforts to win final approval of a historic financial regulatory reform bill looked more complicated on Saturday after a Republican senator threatened to oppose it. “I was surprised and extremely disappointed to hear that $18 billion in new assessments and fees were added in the wee hours of the morning by the […]

Primaries showcase fall political themes

Primaries showcase fall political themes

The subplots abounded Tuesday night: Antipathy toward elected officials and the establishment. The power of special interests. Tests of party purity. The tea party. The quixotic fight against hyper-partisanship. Each of these narratives, any one of them a powerful story line on its own, came together on the busiest day of the primary season, a […]