Veteran public opinion pollster Patrick Caddell tells Newsmax that Sen. Arlen Specter lost Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary because the Obama administration “threw him under the bus” in hopes that his opponent Joe Sestak would win.
Caddell, who has worked for the campaigns of five Democratic presidential candidates including George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, also takes Republicans to task for failing to capitalize on opposition to the healthcare reform bill, which he calls a “crime against democracy.”
And he says Sen. Blanche Lincoln is “dead” whether or not she wins the Democratic runoff in Arkansas.
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Caddell, who left the Democratic Party in 1988, has served as a consultant for TV’s “The West Wing” as well as “Air Force One” and other movies. He is a regular guest on Fox News.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, he was asked if the primary defeat of five-term Sen. Arlen Specter, who left the Republican Party to become a Democrat last year, was a defeat for Barack Obama.
“No. The Obama administration threw Specter under the bus,” Caddell declares.
“I don’t believe it was a defeat for Obama at all. Specter did this to himself by playing around with the stimulus bill early on. If he hadn’t, [Republican candidate Pat] Toomey would have run for governor, which is what he was going to do instead of the Senate” if Specter hadn’t switched parties.
“The administration got what it wanted out of Specter, got him to vote they way he did. They think Sestak is a stronger candidate . . . Specter was a dead man in November.”
Noting that a recent poll showed Obama with an 80 percent approval rating among likely Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania, Caddell says:
“If you do not think, given the low turnout, that the president could have gone up there or even cut a spot saying, I need him, and switched four points — people who don’t know that don’t understand primary inside party politics.
“It will be interesting to see how Specter treats them the rest of the year because they really put it to him.
“The White House throws everyone under the bus, whether it’s Goldman Sachs, their largest contributor, or Reverend Wright. And the press covers up for them. I think the political reporting on this has been appalling.”
Caddell agrees that the win by Democrat Mark Critz in the race for the House seat formerly held by John Murtha bodes well for Democrats in swing districts in November.
“I’ve been seeing that enthusiasm for Republicans in the general election, among Republicans, has been in decline ever since the Republicans in the Senate made such a spectacle of themselves and [appeared] so weak on both the financial bill and healthcare, an issue that still galvanizes the American people.
“I want to tell you, the Republican Party can screw up a one-car funeral. They oversold the race in Murtha’s district. This is a conservative
Democratic district. Critz ran for guns, against abortion, and said he would vote against healthcare, which of course is the biggest joke of all.
“Republicans didn’t know how to deal with Critz. I think the Republican consulting class are just the worst I’ve ever seen in my life.
“Democrats did what they had to do to hold on. Republicans keep thinking it’s in the bag. That’s why they treat the tea parties the way they do. That’s why they keep nominating idiots to run, like [former Senator and now Senate candidate Dan] Coats in Indiana — I don’t mean personally an idiot, but politically an idiot, a man who was a lobbyist.”
In February, a Gallup survey measuring whether Republicans or Democrats were most interested in voting in November found Republicans with a 19 percentage point edge.
“That’s been reduced as of last week,” Caddell tells Newsmax.
“It’s not Democrats going up, it’s Republicans going down. For six weeks they haven’t said a word about healthcare, yet the attitude for repealing
healthcare is overwhelming and the Republicans walked away from it.”
Asked about House Minority Leader John Boehner’s assertion that the House will seek to repeal the healthcare legislation if they regain control, Caddell responds:
“They can’t repeal it. They don’t know what they’re doing. The reason the country is upset is that it was a crime against democracy, not that it was an act of socialism or a government takeover. It was a crime against democracy in both the way it was done and the fact that they would spend this money when the country is on the verge of being bankrupt.
“Boehner says that and then they never talk about it again. Their position should be, expunge the crime against democracy that was committed. That’s something you can stand on.
“Republicans are still going to win in November. But [they] better pay attention to what’s happening.”
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, running for re-election in Arkansas, tried to distance herself from the Obama administration, opposing legislative efforts supported by organized labor and voting against the final version of the healthcare
reform bill. She’s facing a June 8 runoff for the Democratic nomination, but Caddell believes she can’t win re-election even if she wins the runoff.
“She’s dead either way,” he says. “She’s lost. They figure they’ve lost that seat.
“Organized labor went after her. You don’t think Rahm Emanuel could have picked up the phone and told labor to back off about Blanche Lincoln?
“The only thing worse than [watching] Republicans is watching fools like Specter and Lincoln think that when they give their votes up to the White House that the White House is going to help them.”
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