Monday, May 4, 2009

Arlen Specter Left GOP Over Medical Research Funding: "I Think Jack Kemp Would Be Alive Today" (Video)

Kemp comments begin at 8:10 mark.

Fox News reports:

Jack Kemp would still be alive if the federal government had done a better job funding cancer research, Sen. Arlen Specter said Sunday, one day after Kemp, the 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee and former congressman, died of cancer.

The Pennsylvania senator, who last week switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, made the claim on two Sunday shows.

On CBS' "Face the Nation," Specter suggested that one of the reasons he left the GOP was because it did not share his interest in funding medical research.

"Frankly, I was disappointed that the Republican Party didn't want me as their candidate. But as a matter of principle, I'm becoming much more comfortable with the Democrats' approach," Specter said. "And one of the items that I'm working on ... is funding for medical research. I've been the spear carrier to increase medical research."

Specter added: "If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine."

Specter has been treated for Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system. Through his Web site,, the senator has called for more federal resources and funding to be directed toward medical research.

Specter on Sunday touted his record of increasing funding for research for the National Institutes of Health. His Web site details the strides he's made -- "doubling the nation's health research budget" and helping include funding for the NIH in the stimulus bill.

But his claims about Nixon's "war on cancer" and Kemp, the former Buffalo Bills MVP who died of an undisclosed cancer after a lengthy illness, raised eyebrows -- since the government has devoted billions to cancer research since Nixon's call in 1971 for a campaign to find a cancer cure.

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  1. Right. . .it had nothing to do with winning the next election or anything.

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