The Corner

White House Cutting Specter Loose?

CBS News’s Bob Schieffer, via Greg Sargent, says the White House is prepping for a Specter loss in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary by preemptively distancing the administration from the fallout:

Schieffer, to my knowledge, has not said this on national TV yet. But he made the claim in an interview with the local CBS affiliate in Philadelphia here. “I have been told on background that the White House is preparing for a Specter loss here, and that the president doesn’t want to be associated with that,” Schieffer said.

I’ve also learned that Veep Joe Biden will not be doing any campaign events for Specter in the final stretch, though it’s not immediately clear how significant this is. Last week, Biden said he’d be doing events for Specter “as needed.”

But a Biden aide confirms for me that no campaign events are scheduled, even though Biden will be in Pennsylvania tonight speaking at his daughter’s graduation. Biden has done radio interviews on Specter’s behalf.

As for Shieffer’s claim that the White House is preparing for a Specter loss, keep in mind that the White House decided against a last-minute visit to Pennsylvania by Obama. Also, the White House would presumably have access to the best intelligence on the race from the DSCC, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and the office of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, all of whom have thrown their weight behind Specter.

So if Shieffer’s right, all these people may be privately telling the White House Specter may be going down. Which means it just may be true.

The latest Quinnipiac poll has the race in a dead heat, with Democratic challenger Joe Sestak leading Specter by a single point, 42–41.


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