From left: James Buchanan, Arlen Specter, Joe Biden, Rick Santorum, William Scott Hancock.
Pennsylvania has long been regarded as a kingmaker when it comes to presidential politics — we still get awarded “swing state” status by pundits even though it’s been a generation since the state swung to Republicans in a presidential election. But we do a lousy job of electing our own.
The only native of the Keystone State to actually win the presidency? James Buchanan. You might remember him from his stint as The Worst President in American History. (That tends to happen when you stand by and let the nation devolve into ugly, bloody Civil War.) As Joe Biden — Scranton native, longtime U.S. senator from neighboring Delaware (aka “Pennsylvania’s third senator“) — contemplates his own run for the presidency, he might want to consider the woes that have befallen his predecessors.
Here are five notable Pennsylvanians who failed to win the White House: Read more »
Vince Salandria photographed on January 29, 2014.
Photo by Gene Smirnov
THREE YEARS AGO, Vince Salandria got a phone call from Arlen Specter, a man he didn’t know. Salandria had been in the Senator’s company only once before, but that was almost a half-century earlier, at a public event. When he called, Specter wasn’t running for anything—he had recently been voted out of office. All he had was a simple request of Salandria, who was 83 years old, a retired Philadelphia school-system lawyer: Would you have lunch with me? They eventually met at the Oyster House, on Sansom Street in Philadelphia. The lunch would turn out to be one of strangest meetings of Salandria’s life.
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Salandria speaking in 1998; Arlen Specter working with the Warren Commission in 1964.
Philadelphia lawyer Vince Salandria prepped journalist Gaeton Fonzi for his interviews with Arlen Specter about the Warren Commission’s work; Specter’s evasiveness and inability to explain inconsistencies in the findings are chilling.
The Mary Ferrell Foundation has the audio and transcripts from three of those interviews in 1966, as well as a discussion between Fonzi and Salandria. Click here to listen.