07/26/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Specter Backs Public Health Care Option

Sen. Arlen Specter told a boisterous crowd of union activists today that he backs a public health insurance option as part of the health care overhaul Congress is debating.

"I know you are very interested in the public component and I think Senator Schumer has the right idea about having a public component," Specter said at a rally held at the Capitol City Brewery near Union Station.

The shift -- Specter opposed a public option only months ago -- comes as Specter faces a potential primary opponent next spring in U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak and as a new poll shows his favorability rating at a 17-year low.

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