msnbc | October 14, 2012
>> come up as a key issue during the town hall debate.
>>> we have sad news to report. this confirmed from nbc news. senator arlen specter has passed away at the age of 82. he died from complications this morning at his home in the philadelphia area . he was a man who served in the senate for 30 years. the longest running pennsylvania senator. and we will certainly miss his presence. he left the senate after being defeated in a primary. when he switched after switching in april of 2009 . he didn't feel that he could win having been a relatively moderate republican . he was defeated in that primary. and subsequently left the senate. but it's with very sad news that we tell you that senator arlen specter of pennsylvania has passed away at the age of 282. we will be speaking more about his legacy right now with eleanor clift who joins us from washington. el nor and rachel is also here as well. tell me your thoughts on arlen specter . we saw this coming. he was not well for sol time.
>> right. but he fought cancer successfully three or four times earlier and wrote a book about how to keep living your life while you're facing a terrible illness. and he would play tennis and some of his colleagues in the senate would shave their heads in sympathy with him. so i think wherever you are you recognize arlen specter as a real fighter. and he does represent an earlier age in the politics. and that's somebody who was a deal maker who crossed the aisle figuratively and literally, and he was a true legislator. he knew how to operate on capitol hill . he certainly wasn't just a showman. so his style of leadership, while maybe the purists on either side would find him compromising, his style of leadership is missed on capitol hill . he could find the center and the deal.
>> he had a tremendous effect on the supreme court . he was chairman before losing that to the democrats in, i believe it was 2007 . so his legacy lives on in many ways.
>> eafs a pro-choice republican, which is a rare breed today. and, yes. i think you could find his influence in a number of big decisions. certainly president obama 's health care reform may not have gone through without arlen specter . he lived through so much illness and yet would always show up for work. i had almost come to this believe he could survive anything. while his death on one hand is somewhat expected, it comes as a shock. word leaked out in august when he canceled an i peerns at a comedy club in philadelphia. i mean he was doing one night stands as a comedian. so he certainly lived life to the fullest. he had many friends on both sides of the political spectrum .
>> okay, rachel, i want to get to our discussion. but i'm welcomed to have you weigh in as well on senator specter 's passing.
>> he was a lion of the senate. expect to hear statements honoring him from both sides of the aisle. he didn't quite fit into the current political environment, but he was known in the senate for his personality. he brought the skills of a prosecutor to bear in his questioning. and in every other thing that he did there.