Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he agreed with conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh that Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection from the Republican Party to the Democrats was no loss to the GOP.
Steele was asked on CBS' "Early Show" on Thursday which Republican reaction to the Specter exit he most identifies with: Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe's mourning of the loss, or Limbaugh's declaration of good riddance. Steele replied: "Rush. I'm sorry I'm not weeping here. I'm sorry."
But like his Republican colleague Snowe, Steele insisted there is room for moderates in the Republican Party, saying the notion that the party is exclusive "is just crazy."
Wednesday Limbaugh had told his listeners, “A lot of people say, ‘Specter, take McCain with you, and his daughter ... if you're going.’
“The Republican Party is moving left and that is why it is in trouble, and there is certainly a greater diversity of viewpoint in the Republican Party. For crying out loud, I guarantee you the Democrat Party would never, ever nominate their equivalent of John McCain.
“I guarantee you The Democrat Party would never, ever nominate somebody who rips, and has made his name by ripping and criticizing, his own party and his own presidents. That would never happen. Democrats throw those people out of the party or they bury them. We nominated a guy whose claim to fame is criticizing his own president and criticizing his own party, and they say we're monolithic. The monolith is the Democrat Party. Again, I ask, they say he's now filibuster-proof. They got their 60 votes, 59 votes. Well, that's the bare minimum you need for cloture. Where's the diversity?"
Though agreeing with Limbaugh about Specter, Steele earlier engaged in a war of words with the top-rated radio host. Steele called Limbaugh’s challenges to the GOP at the Conservative Political Action Conference “incendiary” and “ugly.”
Limbaugh shot back on his program: "Why do you claim to lead the Republican Party when you seem obsessed with seeing to it President Obama succeeds?"
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