PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Senator Arlen Specter’s closing remarks on the Senate floor brought a round of applause from his colleagues.
The 80-year-old politican’s career in the Senate spanned three decades and five presidents. And Monday marked his last day as a US senator.
“No regrets,” said Sen. Arlen Specter, (D) PA, when asked to reflect on his career. “I’m happy to move on.”
Still, the man who spent most of his career as a moderate Republican said there is more he wished he could have done. He was willing to cross party lines on important issues like abortion, where he was pro-choice.
“I’ll be speaking up because I have a deep intereste in this city, this state, and this country,” said Sen. Specter.
His voting record angered politicians on both sides of the aisle and, in the end ,may have cost him the primary election to Congressman Joe Sestak, (D) PA, last year, when Specter ran as a Democrat.
But those who knew him well said he always voted in what he believed.
“He stood his ground,” said Congressman Bob Brady, (D) PA. “He had his convictions, and he stood by them, and he crossed over party lines, especially when it was for the good of the city and the people of Pennsylvania.”
Senator Specter considers the stimulus bill he helped pass two years ago to be his most important accomplishment in a long political career. Senator Specter promises to remain in public policy in some venue or another, although he has not been too specific about his future plans.
His successor, Senator Pat Toomey, will be sworn in on Wednesday.
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Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3