Biden Has Been Lobbying Specter to Switch Parties — for Five Years

By Lee Speigel

Apr 28, 2009 7:01pm

Vice President Biden has been lobbying Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., to switch parties since 2004, when Specter almost lost the GOP primary to former Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

"The party’s left you," Biden would tell Specter, according to a source close to the vice president. "You’re a fish out of water."

That conversation has continued since, the source says — in the Senate, on the Judiciary Committee (which both men have chaired), and on Amtrak. Biden’s Wilmington stop is 30 minutes before Specter’s in Philly.

Specter’s support for the stimulus bill in February aroused much conservative wrath, and the party switch came up frequently in the course of 14 conversations — six in person, eight on the phone — Biden and Specter have had since.

- jpt

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