Discuss as:

Specter: 'Irascible,' 'fighter,' 'moderate,' 'raging centrist'

“Legendary Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter died in his home Sunday morning from complications of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, according to a statement released by his family. He was 82,” The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

The New York Times: “Arlen Specter, the irascible senator from Pennsylvania who was at the center of many of the Senate’s most divisive legal battles — from the Supreme Court nominations of Robert H. Bork and Clarence Thomas to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton — only to lose his seat in 2010 after quitting the Republican Party to become a Democrat, died Sunday morning at his home in Philadelphia. He was 82.”

The Washington Post’s Paul Kane: “For 30 years, Arlen Specter stood as a symbol for so much that now seems to have disappeared from today’s Senate. Specter, the five-term ex-senator who died Sunday, occupied a space in the Senate that no longer fits the current political environment: raging centrist. From the day he was first sworn in in January 1981, Specter spent his career finding ways to enrage both ends of the ideological spectrum, throwing his always sharp elbows at liberals one month only to do the same to conservatives the next month.”

NPR: “Imagine a lawyer's lawyer, a fighter's fighter and a pol's pol. Now imagine one person as all three. That was Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who died Sunday at age 82. Over the course of three decades in the U.S. Senate (1981-2011), Specter came to personify the pragmatic, independent operator who sized up the substance and politics of every issue for himself. His vote could be one of the hardest to get, and often the vote that made the difference.”

Time dubs him “The Abrasive Moderate.”

The L.A. Times: “Political leaders paused Sunday to mourn the loss of Arlen Specter, the long-serving former Pennsylvania senator whose friends and foes across the political spectrum praised the passionate, if combative, lawmaker who crossed political lines in a way that seems unimaginable in today's partisan era.”