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In early 2004, Senator Specter was in the midst of a grueling primary race, facing significant opposition from the right as he worked to win his party’s nomination to run for reelection for his Pennsylvania senate seat. It would be the most difficult election in his quarter-century career in the Senate. Following on its heels were two more challenges—the general-election race and opposition to his elevation as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, his lifelong ambition. He overcame all three challenges in time for his seventy-fifth birthday.
But exhaustion and fatigue were found to be far more serious. After a series of tests and consultation with several doctors, Specter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, Stage IVB, the most advanced stage.
His cancer treatments came as he reached the height of his power—surrounded by political storms that polarized Washington and threatened to shut the Senate down. His leadership positions made it his job to manage Supreme Court nominations and public-health appropriations as he faced his own illness. He had fought on public-health issues for years, but now it added potency to the message that the messenger was ailing himself.
“Never give in” became Specter’s mantra, invoking the famous words from Churchill in his battle with cancer. This book describes the treatment the Senator received, how he handled the side effects (both visible and private), and his decisions about how to manage life with a potentially fatal disease.
Senator Arlen Specter is Pennsylvania’s senior senator. First elected in 1980, he is now serving his fifth term. Throughout his Senate career, he has served on the Judiciary Committee, which he chaired in the 109th Congress (2005--2007) and continues to serve as its ranking member. Among his many other Senate duties, he is also a former chairman and current ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
Frank J. Scaturro is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has served as counsel for the Senate