"At the end of the day, I don't begrudge the president for the deal that was made with Arlen Specter. It's pretty tough down there," Sestak said, referring to the White House backing Specter's party switch. "But at the end of the day, we are Pennsylvanians, pretty independent minded and we want to make up our own decisions. There's no more kings. There's no more kingmakers."
Sestak was a virtual unknown compared to Specter until last month, when he unveiled ads showing the longtime GOP senator with President Bush and Sarah Palin. Sestak also played upon Specter's party switch, painting him as a politician who made the move for his own political gain and to save his job, rather than for the greater good.
Specter's two new ads featured Obama and highlighted an earlier rally in Pennsylvania, where the president reminded constituents that Specter "cast the deciding vote in the Recovery Act ... pulling America back from the brink."
Specter followed this with a new radio ad Thursday in which Biden said Specter was "one of the most principled guys I have ever known."
The ads are considered a benefit by many, given that Obama's approval ratings are significantly higher than those of Congress members.
Pennsylvania was considered a barometer for national sentiments in the 2008 presidential election. Often considered a possible swing state, Pennsylvania holds a large middle-class constituency, one that has experienced lasting repercussions from the recession. Once a national leader in job creation, the state faces a 9.4 percent unemployment rate, in line with the national average.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania is the first big test of Republican efforts to win back the House: a special election to replace long-time Democratic Rep. John Murtha, pitting Republican Tim Burns against Democrat Mark Critz.
Both parties brought out heavy-hitters. Bill Clinton stumped for Critz over the weekend; Scott Brown campaigned for Burns. Yet, as in the Senate Democratic primary, the race is too close to call.