WASHINGTON — Congressional Democratic leaders said Wednesday that Sen. Arlen Specter's party switch is a sign that Republicans should become more like, well, Democrats.
"I say to Republicans in America, take back your party," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters. "The party of protecting the environment, the party of individual rights, the party of fairness."
Specter stunned the political world Tuesday when he defected to the Democrats, saying there weren't enough moderates in Pennsylvania for him to win a GOP primary.
Many Republicans said good riddance, but there was no denying that Specter sent shock waves through the GOP.
As for Pelosi's advice: House Republicans said thanks, but no thanks.
"It seems unlikely that the most liberal Democratic speaker of the House in history is the best strategist for the Republican Party," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio. "House Republicans will continue to show the American people that we are the party of better solutions."
Pelosi said Republicans should return to some core issues, such as the environment.
"Our country needs a strong Republican Party," she said.
"But not too strong," added her Senate counterpart, Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.