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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday said President Barack Obama will support Sen. Arlen Specter against any primary opponent he may face as Specter bids for the Democratic nomination to defend his Pennsylvania Senate seat. “The president expects to support incumbent Democratic senators in their re-election,— Gibbs said.

But Gibbs said at the daily White House briefing he was not aware of any promises made by the White House in return for Specter’s decision to switch parties.

Gibbs said he did not know whether White House officials participated in the effort to woo Specter. Asked about Vice President Joseph Biden’s role, Gibbs said, “I don’t know the substance of particular conversations.— But he noted, “I know they’re very close, I know they’ve had a relationship for many years in the Senate.—

Gibbs put the blame for Specter’s defection at least partially on the Republican Party, which he said was bereft of ideas for solving the country’s problems.

“The Republican Party has to put together and put forward ideas — constructive solutions to the problems facing the people in America,— Gibbs said. Republicans “can’t just be the party of no or the party of no new ideas.—

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