It's a question we've all been waiting to hear answered. Unfortunately, it took a conservative talk radio host to ask it and didn't come from the mainstream media.
In an interview with Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, Pa., on Feb. 9, talk show host Laura Ingraham asked why he and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are the only three out of 229 Republican members of Congress to support the stimulus. She inquired if it might have had something to do with being invited to the White House by President Barack Obama.
"Is it nice to be wined and dined at the White House?" Ingraham asked. "And, you're treated pretty well when you're a Republican bucking other Republicans, right Senator?"
Specter told Ingraham he wasn't being "wined and dined" by the Obama White House. Specter wasn't on the guest list of one infamous White House party that included several Republican and Democrat members of Congress, which included cocktails and wagyu beef. However, Specter did attend a Super Bowl party hosted by the White House on Feb. 1 as the only Republican member in attendance.
"Now let's get off it Laura," Specter replied. "I'm not drinking any wine at the White House and I don't dine at the White House. If the president wants to talk to me - I talk to him and I make my own independent judgment. Don't give me the wine and dine baloney young lady."
Ingraham challenged Specter again by asking him if that had any effect on his position on the stimulus, which he outlined in a Feb. 9 Washington Post op-ed.
"Absolutely not, anymore than talking to anybody else," Specter said. "He's the president and I talk to him. I talked to people who were opposed to it and talk to everybody. I got a pretty good record, Laura for making up my own mind."
According to Specter, the legislation will create jobs immediately in his state and cited Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and a mayor of "a major city" as evidence.
"Laura, we have a big chunk of this money going to roads, highways and mass transit," Specter said. "I talked to the governor of my state and he said we could do it in nine months. And I said, ‘That's really not good enough.' And he said, ‘If we really twist and turn we can cut it back to six months. And I talked to the mayor of a major city this morning that has a parking plot going up, which is out of money and the work can go forward this afternoon."
"And there are projects, shovel-ready, which can be put to good use immediately and put people to work," Specter said.