I went to the Arlen Specter/Joe Sestak Q&A panel today at Netroots Nation that was led by our own Susie Madrak. Specter answered questions about why we should trust him since he switched parties and he made his case. He's a skilled politician and did a pretty good job trying to defend his lefty creds. We didn't act like the Beckerwocky teabaggers do and he was treated with dignity, even if most of the audience supports Joe.
When he was questioned about Chuck Grassley's ""We should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma" he adamantly said Grassley was wrong and he said he would speak to him later today. I yelled out "call him now!" and several other audience members also yelled the same thing. I waved my phone and said, "You can use my cell phone!" He said he would call him right away.
I followed him to the back of the arena and a bunch of us surrounded him as he made good on his promise. He tried to reach Grassley, but got no answer. As he was leaving, I was able to ask Specter if President Obama should kick Grassley out of the negotiating position he has for spreading egregious statements and falsehoods about health care.
Specter said that we shouldn't kick Grassley out of the Finance committee because senators are wrong at times, but he promised to stay after Grassley. I think Obama should have Baucus kick him out of the negotiating process because he's violated his duty by spreading lies about a health care bill he's trying to legislate over.
John Amato: Senator, one more quick question. I'm John Amato of CrooksandLiars. Does Senator Grassley's irresponsible statements and the fact that he's on the committee that's negotiating for this health care bill, doesn't that disqualify him, in other words, shouldn't Obama say, why should I even have him at the table if he's going to make such outrageous statements?
Specter: Does it disqualify him, no. When he made that statement, it's wrong. If you disqualified every Senator who is wrong about something, there wouldn't be any Senators.OK?..
Well, Grassley never picked up. So Specter tweeted all about it.
And Grassley is not pleased.
And in a narrow sense, Grassley's right. He didn't use the term "death boards" or "death panels." He said "There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life. And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear.... We should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma."
But in the broader sense, Specter's got Grassley pegged.
Citizen journalism rocks! We proved that once again.