Maryland's Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, on Wednesday labeled the GOP the most partisan and radically-right ever, called his side moderate and held out former House Minority Leader Bob Michel and former GOP Senate leader Bob Dole as the models for the Republicans to follow.

"I frankly think the Democratic Party is the moderate party in the Congress," he said after slapping the GOP for adhering to a narrow right-wing base, including gun owners.

Speaking at a media breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor, he criticized users of assault weapons like the AR-15 used in the recent Aurora, Colorado shootings. "Assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose only, to kill a lot of people quickly, no other purpose. I don't think anybody hunts deer, quail, geese, in Maryland with an assault rifle. And if they do, they shouldn't be," he said, though conceded that there is not enough support in Congress to revive the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

And given a chance to name the GOP leaders he's admired since being elected to Congress in 1981, Hoyer cited Michel and Dole, who'd be considered moderates today. He also gave a hat tip to former President George W. Bush. During a meeting, Hoyer said Bush told him, "I don't know anybody who disagrees with me more who I like better."