In 1994, when two-term Congressman Rick Santorum was running against incumbent (chosen in a 1991 special election) Democratic Senator Harris Wofford, his campaign was in the doldrums, even in a heavily Republican year. Wofford was an attractive candidate, with a long history going back to his work as liaison between John Kennedy’s campaign and the civil rights movement, and his early advocacy of what became the Peace Corps. He was and is a very nice man, and when it came to the point that his campaign had need of the services of people who weren’t necessarily very nice he had the very effective team of James Carville, Paul Begala and Bob Shrum.

Santorum was in trouble, and Arlen Specter came to his rescue. I remember visiting the Santorum headquarters in Philadelphia that fall, where it was apparent that Specter operatives had taken over the campaign and were running it very effectively indeed. Santorum won 49%-47%–better, he can point out, than any Republican presidential candidate has done in Pennsylvania since 1988, but a nail biter nonetheless. Specter knew that Santorum would be a much more conservative senator than he was, and he surely knew that senators from the same state and of the same party often have difficult and sometimes poisonous relationships. Wofford was a guy he could live with. Nonetheless he pitched in and went all out for Santorum.

In those circumstances, it would have been gross ingratitude for Santorum to have endorsed Toomey in 2004. He owed Arlen Specter.