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Specter Looks Ahead After 30 Years In US Senate

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(AP photo)

(AP photo)

WASHINGTON, DC (CBS) – Pennsylvania’s longest-serving US senator met with reporters in Washington today as the end of his fifth and final term draws near.

Sitting in his office crammed with mementos, Sen. Arlen Specter, 80, said he didn’t achieve everything he wanted to during his 30 years in the US Senate.

“I wanted to move ahead with NIH (National Institutes of Health) funding.  I consider that my most important accomplishment in the Senate, and I wanted to continue with it,” Specter said on Thursday.  “And embryonic stem cell research is a veritable fountain of youth,” he added, touting one of his favorite causes.

He says respects the voters’ decision not to re-elect him, adding, “That’s democracy.”  And he said he’s still got plenty on his plate:

“I’m ready to turn a new page, beyond the book I’m writing —  turn a new page on the book of life.”

Specter says he’ll be teaching a class at the University of Pennsylvania’s law school and is interested in doing commentaries on television or radio.  He says he has been talking with law firms, too.

Specter says his relationship with President Obama is good, recalling that he helped the president at some critical moments such as the economic stimulus package and health care reform, in which Specter cast the important 60th vote in the Senate.

But Specter says he knows of one job he doesn’t want:

“I’m not interested in a cabinet position, and if something should arise where he wanted me to serve and it was something I thought I could make a contribution on, it would be a possibility.  But nothing is in the offing.”

And Specter says the president is going to have a very tough time with the new Congress.

Reported by John McDevitt, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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