Longtime GOP Senate moderate Arlen Specter dies

7:31 PM, Oct 14, 2012   |    comments
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - President Barack Obama is remembering former Sen. Arlen Specter as "a fighter."

The Republican-turned-Democrat from Pennsylvania died today at age 82.

Obama says, "from his days stamping out corruption as a prosecutor in Philadelphia to his three decades of service in the Senate," Specter was fiercely independent and never put party or ideology ahead of the people he was chosen to serve.

Specter began his political career as a Democrat, and in 2009 startled fellow senators when he announced he was switching to the Democratic side because he did not think he could win the nomination for a sixth term in the increasingly conservative GOP. He wound up losing the 2010 Democratic primary to then-Rep. Joe Sestak, who narrowly lost Specter's seat to conservative Pat Toomey. 

His son says Specter died this morning from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 82.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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