Joe Sestak is no Steve Israel. The Pennsylvania Democrat told Greg Sargent today that even a personal plea from President Obama couldn't convince him not to challenge Arlen Specter in the 2010 Senate primary.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) reportedly backed down from challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) after Obama personally asked him not to run, but Sestak said he's in the race to stay.
"I have great respect for [the President]. He said that the core mission of the office of the Presidency is to ensure opportunities for everyone. Pennsylvanians should not be foreclosed on who they want. I believe in the bottom of my heart that the President does believe this."

Asked what he would do if Obama himself made the request, Sestak reiterated his respect for the President but said it wouldn't make a difference. "At the end of the day my responsibility is to [the people] here in Pennsylvania," he said.

Even if Specter negotiated a deal on EFCA that was amenable to labor unions, Sestak said, he'd still run.