White House aides said on Tuesday that they had no advanced knowledge that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter would be switching party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. Once told, however, the president reached Specter to express his thrill at having him in the party and to offer his full support.
According to a White House aide, the president found out about the switch at 10:25 AM while in the Oval Office receiving his Economic Daily Briefing.
The president was handed a note, the aide said, that read: "Specter is announcing he is changing parties."
Seven minutes later, President Obama reached Specter to tell him, according to the aide, "You have my full support" and that we are "thrilled to have you."
The White House released a photo Tuesday of the president on the phone with Specter: