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Specter Says Farewell, Gets Right Back to Work

Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania’s longest-serving Senator, gave his strongly anticipated farewell speech this morning. Almost immediately after the ensuing Senate tribute to Specter, the Senator came right back to the floor to give a vigorous defense of the “New START” Treaty.

Specter’s address, which he billed as a “closing argument” for moderation, called on his colleagues to put partisanship aside and work for compromise.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Tom Fitzgerald has the day’s best story on the speech.

Perhaps most telling, however, came after Specter’s address. Only a few minutes after tribute remarks by Senator Bob Casey and Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, Specter took the floor with a vigorous defense of the New START treaty.

Specter called on his colleagues to support New START and refuted treaty opponents’ argument that it constrains U.S. missile defense.

The legally binding portion of the treaty does not limit or otherwise pertain to missile defense, Specter noted.

Specter’s eagerness to tackle this issue is characteristic of his entire career. And it’s a fair bet that even after his time in the Senate, Specter will continue to play a major role in public discourse.

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