ABC News’ Tahman Bradley Reports: Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., declined to comment on reports that MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews is considering launching a bid for his U.S. Senate seat in 2010. Whether Matthews enters the fray or not, Specter told CNN he will be ready for a tough re-election battle.
"I long ago adopted the philosophy of Satchel Paige, the old pitcher, and that is I never look over my shoulder, never look behind. Somebody may be gaining on me. I run with blinders," Specter said on the program "Late Edition".
Specter, seeking a sixth term, noted that he must first survive the Republican primary in 2010 before he worries about a Democratic opponent.
"I’ll be prepared, whoever my opponents are."
Speculation about a Matthews bid grew last week after reports that the "Hardball" host met with Pennsylvania Democratic Party leaders about a possible run and had started hiring staff. A Matthews spokesperson, however, told Politico the report that he’s staffed up is "absolutely not true."
Matthews is a Philadelphia native who was an aide to former House Speaker Tip O’Neill and a presidential speech writer in the Carter Administration. His contract with MSNBC reportedly expires in June.
The newly appointed Democratic in charge of getting Democrats elected to the Senate, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, also appearing on "Late Edition", was asked by host Wolf Blitzer if he’s ready to stand by Matthews should he enter the race.
"I haven’t seen any firm announcement by anyone in terms of running. Obviously, you know, we’re going to be looking at the whole universe of seats that are up, keeping our incumbents strong and in a position to win re-election, looking at open seats that may become open, and then, of course, challengers."