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5:45 PM ET, April 28, 2009


 Top Items: 
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Specter To Switch Parties  —  UPDATED, 2:10 p.m. Continue following the story here.  —  Original Post  —  Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning.
Statement by Senator Arlen Specter  —  I have been a Republican since 1966.  I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view.  While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am.
Lisa Lerer / The Politico:
Two Republicans blame conservatives  —  Two leading Republicans say Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to become a Democrat highlights the hostility moderates feel from an increasingly conservative GOP.  —  “You haven't certainly heard warm encouraging words about how [the GOP] views moderates …
Specter: ‘The disappointment runs in both directions’  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) — Veteran Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter said Tuesday that he switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party.  —  “I know I'm disappointing many of my colleagues,” he said at a news conference.
The New Republic:
Unprincipled Hack (D-PA)  —  When a politician switches parties, it's customary for the party he's abandoned to denounce him as an unprincipled hack, and the party he's joined to praise him as a brave convert who's genuinely seen the light.  But I think it's pretty clear that Specter is an unprincipled hack.
Discussion: Commentary and MoJo Blog Posts
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Specter switching parties  —  A source involved in the talks confirms that Senator Arlen Specter will switch to the Democratic Party, a dramatic move putting the Democrats within reach of two votes in the Senate.  —  The move stands to put the White House's agenda on a fast-track …
Carl Hulse / The Caucus:
Specter Switches Parties  —  Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said on Tuesday he would switch to the Democratic party, presenting Democrats with a possible 60th vote and the power to break Senate filibusters as they try to advance the Obama administration's new agenda.
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Specter move caught GOP leaders by surprise  —  Senate Republican leaders said they had received no heads-up from Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) about his decision to leave the Republican Party and run for reelection as a Democrat.  —  Specter told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) …
Discussion: The Politico and Hot Air
The Huffington Post:
Snowe: GOP Has Abandoned Principles; Specter Switch “Devastating”  —  Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in the Senate, said Tuesday that Arlen Specter's abandonment of the GOP is “devastating,” both “personally and I think for the party.”
The Politico:
Specter: I'm not an automatic 60th vote  —  Arlen Specter has crushed Republican spirits while causing Democrats to rejoice, but his stunning party switch came with a warning label: The Obama agenda isn't suddenly a slam dunk just because he's a Democrat now.  —  “I will not be an automatic 60th vote,” Specter said Tuesday afternoon.
Snowe calls Specter move ‘devastating’  —  WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Olympia Snowe — one of the three moderate Republicans including Arlen Specter who supported President Obama's stimulus package — told CNN Tuesday that she has also been approached many times about becoming a Democrat, but that it hasn't happened for a while.
The New Majority:
Another Triumph for the Club for Growth  —  With Arlen Specter's defection, all that stands between the Democrats and a 60-seat Senate majority are Norman Coleman's lawyers.  I wish them every success - but they have not exactly been on an winning streak to date.
Eric Kleefeld / TPMDC:
Why Specter Did It — And Had To Do It  —  So why exactly has Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA D-PA) switched parties?  —  It really comes down to electability — specifically electability as a Republican.  Specter's own statement acknowledged that his support for the stimulus bill has made his position untenable with the GOP:
Jonathan Cohn / The New Republic:
What a Specter Shift Means—and Doesn't Mean
Timothy P. Carney /
Did DeMint's endorsement of Toomey set off Specter?
Discussion: Eschaton
Kos / Daily Kos:
The RNC responds  —  Not a bad response from RNC Chairman Michael Steele:
Discussion: Scorecard's Blog and MyDD
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
WHY SPECTER'S SWITCH MATTERS.... Following up on the last item …
David Weigel / The Washington Independent:   Club for Growth Speechless on Specter Switch
Specter to face a Democratic primary
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Steele: Specter move not ‘based on principles of any kind’
Discussion: On Deadline
Alex Isenstadt / The Politico:
GOP leaders: It's not our fault
Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish:   The Conservative Fissure Widens
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Specter courts conservatives in Pa. rematch
Discussion: Ben Smith's Blog and The Politico
David Waldman / Daily Kos:
Memo to GOP: Seat Franken or we'll keep Specter's committee seats
Discussion: AMERICAblog News
Amanda Terkel / Think Progress:
CNN's Rick Sanchez calls out DeMint's vapid talking point …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Matt Welch / Reason:   Arlen Specter, Democrat
Joseph Abrams / Fox News:
Despite Reports, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Was Not Waterboarded 183 Times  —  The number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded was the focus of major media attention — and highly misleading.  —  —  The New York Times reported last week that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed …
News7 Poll: Terry McAuliffe holds double digit lead over Brian Moran & Creigh Deeds  —  A new poll gives Terry McAuliffe a double digit lead over Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds, his Democratic rivals for Governor.  —  But a majority of likely Democratic voters who responded to the News7 SurveyUSA poll …
Discussion: Blue Virginia
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Major defeat for Bush/Obama position on secrecy  —  (updated below - interview with lead counsel Ben Wizner of the ACLU)  —  The first sign that the Obama DOJ would replicate many of the worst and most radical arguments of the Bush DOJ was in the Jeppesen case, a lawsuit brought by five victims …
Daphne Eviatar / The Washington Independent:
Appeals Court Reinstates Torture Case Previously Dismissed …
Emily Kaiser / City Pages:
Bachmann: ‘Interesting coincidence’ that Dems in power during swine flu outbreak  —  Rep. Michele Bachmann came up with another doozy during her interview Monday with Pajamas TV.  Does anyone think it's “interesting” that the last time we saw swine flu was during another Democratic president?
Andrew Blankstein / L.A. Now:
Two L.A. County deaths possibly related to swine flu, coroner says [Updated]  —  The Los Angeles County coroner's office is investigating two recent deaths that officials say could be related to the recent global swine flu outbreak.  However, no tests have come back positive for the swine flu …
Discussion: Clusterstock
Washington Times:
Barack's in the basement  —  Obama is less popular than Nixon and Carter  —  President Obama's media cheerleaders are hailing how loved he is.  But at the 100-day mark of his presidency, Mr. Obama is the second-least-popular president in 40 years.  —  According to Gallup's April survey …
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 More Items: 
Michael Sneed / Chicago Sun Times:
Chris Kennedy mulls U.S. Senate bid
Discussion: The Fix and Swing State Project
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Miraculous Compromise  —  TPM Reader FB may be on to something ...
Discussion: D-Day
Ben Smith / Ben Smith's Blog:
Field not quite clear
Discussion: MyDD and Open Left
UAW Said to Get 55% Chrysler Ownership, Board Seats
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
Specter and EFCA  —  Grover Norquist tells the Washington Independent …
 Earlier Items: 
Renae Merle / Washington Post:
Mortgage Modification Bill Faces Trouble in Senate
Discussion: The Huffington Post and Hot Air
Media Matters:
Kilmeade opines that McCain “should not be allowed to talk …
Discussion: Think Progress
Iain Martin / Telegraph:
Britain is going to need far more people like Sir Michael Caine
Wall Street Journal:
Fed Pushes Citi, BofA to Increase Capital
Discussion: Salon and D-Day