As we informed you earlier this week, Joe Sestak gave what his campaign called a "major" speech last night in Washington. Turned out, he didn't offer anything new but did his best to use the anniversary of Arlen Specter's party switch to describe why he became a Democrat -- principle, not self-preservation -- and compare Specter's attack ad to nasty Republican campaigns against veterans Max Cleland and John Kerry, though he didn't specifically rebut the "poor command climate" charge.
For more of my take, you have to be a premium PG+ subscriber and make your way to Pittsburgh on the Potomac. For the freeloaders out there, here's a roundup of other coverage.
Tom Fitzgerald at the Philly Inquirer writes:
Sestak's speech was an attempt to reset his campaign in the same way, though on a smaller scale, that President Obama did before the 2008 Pennsylvania primary with a speech on race at the National Constitution Center.
Obama was on the defensive after controversial remarks by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Sestak lost control of the campaign narrative over the last week as Specter pounded him with TV ads highlighting Sestak's 2005 removal from a top Pentagon post for, as the Navy Times reported then, "a poor command climate."
The commercial undercuts what is perhaps Sestak's most formidable credential, his Navy career. Sestak complained of being "swiftboated," and rallied veterans to denounce the Specter ad. He has yet to hit back, continuing to run the 60-second biographical spot.
In the Allentown Morning Call, Colby Itkowitz -- the other half of PA's D.C. reporting contingent -- has this:
In a tiny law firm office Wednesday night, Sestak did not shed any new light on his military career, but more succinctly recounted the events that led to his retirement. He did not address the specifics in the week-old Specter TV ad that says Sestak was relieved of duty for ''creating a poor command climate.''
''Arlen Specter can say whatever he wants about me, but the honor I take in having worn the cloth of this nation for 30 years cannot be undone by a 30-second attack ad,'' the Delaware County congressman said.
Sestak said, as he has before, that he wanted to reduce the conventional Navy fleet in exchange for a more technology-based system. The view wasn't popular among the establishment, and a new chief of naval operations ''wanted a larger fleet and a new team,'' Sestak said. ''It was his decision and I respected it.''
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