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Specter switch: Coleman, Franken, other leaders respond

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Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter announced he quit the Republican party this morning and is running with the Democrats. As you'd probably expect, there's a lot of warm embraces on one side and a whole lot of mudslinging on the other.

Democrats say it's another example of the destruction of the Republican party and the Republicans are sour and claim they didn't like having Specter on their side anyway.

With the Democrats sitting pretty with 59 seats, Franken's oh-so-close win in Minnesota is under increasing scrutiny for the filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. So what is everyone actually saying?

Check out the statements below.

Norm Coleman
Cullen Sheehan, campaign manager for Senator Norm Coleman, today released the following statement regarding Sen. Specter's party switch:

"Senator Coleman's focus remains on the thousands of Minnesota citizens who have not had their voices heard or their votes counted. We will keep on fighting to enfranchise these voters and to ensure that every legally cast ballot is opened and counted."

Al Franken
Franken spokesman Andy Barr: Sen.-elect Franken looks forward to working with Senators of both parties to make progress on President Obama's agenda and move our country forward.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
I have known Senator Specter for more than a quarter-century. He has always been a man of honor and integrity, and a fine public servant.

Senator Specter and I have had a long dialogue about his place in an evolving Republican Party. We have not always agreed on every issue, but Senator Specter has shown a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner, put people over party, and do what is right for Pennsylvanians and all Americans.

I welcome Senator Specter and his moderate voice to our diverse caucus, and to continuing our open and honest debate about the best way to make life better for the American people.

And the best statement of the day from someone who has been burned...

RNC Chairman Michael Steele

"Some in the Republican Party are happy about this. I am not. Let's be honest-Senator Specter didn't leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record. Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don't do it first."