WashTimes smears Arlen Specter

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Did it with an item headlined:

Specter: GOP priorities contributed to Kemp death

Smears from the Times in the wake of Specter decision to leave the GOP were to be expected. But I guess the stunning part is that the smear appears in a news article in which the Times seems to deliberately mislead readers about what Sen. Arlen Specter said on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday. The Times' manufactured smear has now become a hit within the right-wing blogosphere (complete with a red headline at Drudge), as conservatives make fun of the heartless politician from Pennsylvania.

Here's what the Times item claims:

Mr. Specter, responding to a question from CBS's Bob Schieffer over whether he had let down Pennsylvanians who wanted a Republican to represent them, said he felt his priorities were more in line with those of the Democrats.

"Well, I was sorry to disappoint many people. Frankly, I was disappointed that the Republican Party didn't want me as their candidate," Mr. Specter said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "But as a matter of principle, I'm becoming much more comfortable with the Democrats' approach. And one of the items that I'm working on, Bob, is funding for medical research."

Mr. Specter continued: "If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine."

Mr. Kemp passed away Saturday, after fighting with cancer. Mr. Kemp ran for the White House in 1996 with Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole.

The smear is only visible if you go back and read/watch what Specter actually said on CBS and don't rely on the Times to tell you the truth. Because there was a whole section of Specter's Face the Nation answer that the Times skipped over; a section that made it clear that when Specter referenced "we," as in "if we had pursued," he was talking about Congress as a whole (and Congress for decades), not just Republicans, which obliterates the Times' gotcha angle that Arlen was blaming Republicans for Kemp's death.

UPDATE: The Times headline got altered between Sunday and Monday. It now reads:

Specter hints Kemp died of GOP agenda

So now editors are hiding behind "hints" to justify their baseless attack on Specter. Stay classy WashTimes.

UPDATE: Here's a clip of Specter's Face the Nation response, which the WashTimes seemed to purposefully mangle:

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