Gibbs: GOP is having an 'internal battle'

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that this week's election results indicate the Democratic Party is growing its tent while the Republicans have been purging their centrists.

Gibbs, when asked about the special-election victory of conservative Democrat Mark Critz in Pennsylvania, said Democrats are happy to "enjoy a big tent" while Republicans are having "an internal battle with themselves" that has pushed former Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and others out of the GOP.

Gibbs pointed to Specter's defection, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's switch from Republican to Independent and Utah Sen. Bob Bennett's (R) recent loss as evidence that the GOP is narrowing its party.

Gibbs said Specter and Crist were "run out of [their] own party."

"I think the Republican Party is having an internal battle with themselves, and they're shrinking the size of their party," Gibbs said.

Gibbs said the White House is not concerned that candidates Obama has backed, like Specter and Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley, have lost despite the president's endorsement.

He likewise dismissed concerns about Critz's conservative stances on social issues, saying "we have the luxury of enjoying a party with a big tent."

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