Not for nothing is Arlen Specter known as a fierce campaigner. This morning, I caught his latest attack ad (viewable here) on Democratic rival Joe Sestak.
The ad refers to Sestak as "No-Show Joe," citing some 127 votes he's missed in Congress. (Team Specter has even helpfully crafted a Web site on the matter.) It also attacks Sestak at the very heart of his campaign -- by challenging his military service.
Specter's ad notes that Sestak, a three-star admiral in the U.S. Navy, was removed from a command post for creating a "poor command climate."
As the Navy Times reported in 2005, Sestak was "administratively reassigned" from his job as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations shortly after Mike Mullen became operations chief.
"A source within the Navy Department said there were no allegations of misconduct on the part of Sestak," the Times reported. "Rather, he said, the move is being made because of poor command climate."
Sestak will be in town later today, appearing at a noon gathering in Mellon Square Park with gender-equality advocates. No doubt the ad's charges will come up in discussions with reporters.
In the meantime, I'll just say this: I've previously felt that Sestak's advantage was that nobody -- nobody -- gets excited about voting for Arlen Specter. But as others have tried to warn me, that's not how Arlen Specter gets elected. Instead, he gets elected by making sure that no one gets excited about voting for anyone else either. That's what he's doing to Sestak ... and right now, it looks like he'll be doing it to Pat Toomey in just a few months.
UPDATE: Sestak has launched his own ad today. It's a minute-long introductory ad that takes a much more upbeat approach to the race. It touts Sestak's military service and his claim to represent a "new generation of leadership."