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The high villain of the Conservative Political Action Conference during Thursday's morning session isn't Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). It's a Democratic senator who, after the 2010 elections, may no longer even be in Congress.
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who abruptly abandoned the Republican party last year, has been the butt of several jabs and jokes casting him as liberal waste that the GOP was smart to shed.
Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio said, "The U.S. Senate already has one Arlen Specter too many." The next speaker, Sen. Jim DeMint (D-S.C.), recalled with glee how he and his political action committee, the Senate Conservatives Fund, helped drive Specter away from the Republican Party in early 2009.
"The best way to [regain] the trust of the American people and to reclaim a Republican majority is to find and support candidates who believe in the principles of freedom," he said. "It is that simple."
"So we endorsed Pat Toomey over Arlen Specter in the Republican primary," he added. "That seemed to encourage Arlen to follow his liberal roots back to the Democrat Party."
For those Republicans who believe the GOP needs to be more of a big tent crowd, the CPAC forum was not the venue to express those sentiments. The audience offered hearty applause for the Specter swipes. They cheered even louder when DeMint insisted that he would "rather have 30 Marco Rubios in the Senate than 60 Arlen Specters."