In 2001, he voted for Bush's package of tax cuts, but voted with Democrats to route $450 billion into education and debt reduction. He negotiated $10 billion for medical research when he agreed to vote for the stimulus.
Specter, who grew up in Depression-era Kansas, justified his vote for the stimulus as the only way to keep America from sliding into another depression.
But Specter had barely won his 2004 Republican primary and decided that the stimulus vote had ensured his political career would not survive another GOP primary. At the urging of good friends Vice President Joe Biden and Rendell, both Democrats, he switched parties.
Still, many Democratic primary voters had never voted for Specter, and they weren't about to start.