Remembering former Sen. Arlen Specter
A look back at ex-lawmaker's career
- Duration 4:14
- Date Oct 15, 2012
A look back at ex-lawmaker's career
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What a great privilege to a -- horse for the last thirty years.
-- right decisions of our.
As the longest serving senator from Pennsylvania Arlen Specter described himself as a rugged and fears.
All those closest to him said he was a hard worker and intensely loyal.
But -- that last characterization.
Loyalty that would haunt Specter when his thirty year career in the senate and it.
As the Democrat turned Republican.
Turned Democrat again.
Specter grew up in Kansas the son of Jewish immigrant parents from Russia.
He graduated from Yale Law School in 1956.
It was while serving as assistant district attorney in Philadelphia.
That Specter worked on the Warren commission.
Group investigating the assassination of John F.
Kennedy -- He was one of the men who came up with a single bullet theory.
Year old Spector ran for district attorney of Philly as a registered Democrat on the Republican ticket.
It was said that the GOP offered him a chance when Democrats balked at his wish to run soon after his victory he officially became a Republican.
Specter lost a bid for mayor in 67.
But was reelected as DA he lost his subsequent bid in 1973.
And in the years that followed also lost runs for the US senate.
And the governor's office and ultimately the presidency in 1996.
Dropping out before the primaries.
But in 1980 Specter successfully ran for the senate.
And headed to Washington to begin writing.
His unmatched legacy in the state of Pennsylvania hours Specter would become most well known for his work on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.
-- He crossed party lines during the infamous Robert Bork hearings voting against -- For me it was a very hard decision.
To disagree with my colleagues on the Republican side on this committee -- disagree with -- my president my -- and indicated vote against a man who might come to know and life and respect spec.
There was seen as an important factor in that failed nomination side.
As a member or chairman Specter would go on to be part of thirteenth Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
Specter was also chairman of the committee when the Patriot Act was signed into law by President Bush although Specter did express some misgivings about.
As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee Specter -- to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health.
And propose legislation to cover uninsured Americans long before President Obama perhaps because Specter knew what it was like to face a deadly disease.
I thank Karen and I they should.
The medical profession really excellent care of that I'm getting.
In 2005 he was diagnosed with cancer hodgkin's lymphoma he underwent chemotherapy losing his hair the continuing to work.
In 2008 the cancer returned and Specter again sought treatment without quitting his job.
On was I'm willing to -- Subject -- 49 -- record in the United States senate.
To -- Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate.
-- in April 2009 as he trailed in the polls against a primary challenge from Pat Toomey Specter announced that he was changing parties.
And would caucus with the Democrats I'm thrilled to have.
-- Harlem Democratic Caucus the White House through its full support behind him.
-- inspector would give senate Democrats the sixty votes needed to overcome Republican filibuster.
But in the end congressman Josef -- it will defeat him in the democratic primary.
It's very great privilege.
To serve the people professional -- And there's.
Bringing to an end the impassioned.
And sometimes controversial.
Political career of the mighty Snowe Arlen Arlen Specter.
In Washington Bret Baier Fox News.