Snowe: GOP Has Abandoned Principles; Specter Switch "Devastating"

05/29/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in the Senate, said Tuesday that Arlen Specter's abandonment of the GOP is "devastating," both "personally and I think for the party."

"I've always been deeply concerned about the views of the Republican Party nationally in terms of their exclusionary policies and views towards moderate Republicans," said Snowe, who has been approached, she said, by Democrats in the past about switching parties.

Specter's switch to the Democratic Party "underscores the blunt reality" that the GOP is not a welcome place for moderates, she said.

So far, she said, she's staying put. "I believe in the traditional tenets of the Republican Party: strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, individual opportunity. I haven't abandoned those principles that have been the essence of the Republican Party. I think the Republican Party has abandoned those principles.

She added that being a Republican is simply part of who she is. "It's my ethnic heritage, Spartan side, that continues to fight," she said.

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