Former Senator Arlen Specter Dies of Cancer
Arlen Specter, a gruff, independent-minded moderate who spent three decades in the U.S. Senate but was spurned by Pennsylvania voters after switching in 2009 from Republican to Democrat, died on Sunday of cancer, his family said. He was 82.
Specter played a pivotal role in many of the major issues of his time, including the investigation into the assassination of President John Kennedy, disputes over controversial Supreme Court nominees, and the Senate vote not to remove President Bill Clinton from office for perjury after an affair.
Specter had announced in August a recurrence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer of the lymphatic system. His son Shanin Specter confirmed his death in Philadelphia.
Resilient, smart and aggressive, the former prosecutor frequently riled conservatives and liberals on his way to becoming Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. senator. He was elected to five six-year terms starting in 1980. He left the Republican Party because he said it had become too conservative.
“Arlen Specter was always a fighter. From his days stamping out corruption as a prosecutor in Philadelphia to his three decades of service in the Senate, Arlen was fiercely independent - never putting party or ideology ahead of the people he was chosen to serve,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.
Former President George W. Bush said Specter “loved our country and served it with integrity.”
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