News of Sen. Arlen Specter's party switch today comes after months of strong statements to the contrary by the Pennsylvania Senator.

In a March 17th interview with The Hill, Specter said he absolutely would not switch parties:
[Democrats] are trying very hard for the 60th vote. Got to give them credit for trying. But the answer is no.

I'm not going to discuss private talks I had with other people who may or may not be considered influential. But since those three people are in the public domain, I think it is appropriative to respond to those questions.

I am staying a Republican because I think I have an important role, a more important role, to play there. The United States very desperately needs a two-party system. That's the basis of politics in America. I'm afraid we are becoming a one-party system, with Republicans becoming just a regional party with so little representation of the northeast or in the middle atlantic. I think as a governmental matter, it is very important to have a check and balance. That's a very important principle in the operation of our government. In the constitution on Separation of powers.

Also on the Specter switch:

--Specter move caught GOP leaders by surprise

--Michael Steele on the switch of the 'left-wing' senator

--Harry Reid on convincing Specter to switch

--Who will Specter eat lunch with now?