While not "happy" with the defection of Arlen Specter, national Republicans are doing the best they can to squelch concerns from within the party that they now have no shot of winning that seat in the 2010 election.
In a private memo sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and obtained by the Huffington Post, spokesman Brian Walsh distributed the following background information for his fellow GOPers to work with.
· First, while I wouldn't necessarily use the word "happy," the item below from Congressional Quarterly has several points worth keeping in mind when assessing today's news;
· Second, for those who haven't seen it, below that are Senator Cornyn's comments from today's press stakeout where he reiterated that this was a decision about political self-preservation;
· Third, at the bottom, note that in addition to former National Constitution Center head Joe Torsella who insisted in a statement this afternoon that he is still running for the Democratic nod and Specter's statement that he still opposes card check - which DC & PA labor bosses will have trouble swallowing -- The Hill has a statement from Democrat Congressman Joe Sestak who also leaves the door open to challenging Specter in a primary.
· Finally, in case you missed it yesterday before the Specter news even broke, Politico had a piece on a new survey out by Public Opinion Strategies showing that voters, by a 22 point margin, said they preferred a candidate who would be a "check and balance" to President Obama over a candidate "who will help Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress" pass their agenda. Click here for the story.
The sum of the material seems to be this: paint Specter as a political opportunist, play up the shot of a Democratic challenging Specter in the primary, and hope that the public desire to have a check on Obama outweighs the massive gains in voter registration that Pennsylvania Democrats made in the last election.
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