AUGUSTA – In her 18th and final address to a Maine Republican convention, Sen. Olympia Snowe said Sunday the party must stick together to defeat President Obama in November.

Snowe, who shocked the political world in late February when she pulled out of her re-election bid, received a standing ovation from delegates and others with her call to defeat Obama.

“I hope you are ready to pull out all the stops as Barack Obama goes into the history books as a one-term president,” she said.

In a 30-minute address, Snowe recapped highlights of a political career that began in 1973 with her election to the Maine House of Representatives after the death of her first husband, Peter Snowe. In 1994, she became the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state Legislature and both houses of Congress when she was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Snowe addressed a divided convention, where Ron Paul supporters took a majority of delegates and Mitt Romney backers threatened to challenge the results. Her speech came in the midst of more delegate voting, with the convention falling further behind schedule amid allegations of fraud on both sides.

Many delegates waved signs that read “Thank You, Olympia!” as she walked onstage, where her husband, former Gov. John R. McKernan Jr., was seated.

Snowe said between the two of them, they have 56 years of elected service. She said she’s long been an advocate for small businesses and anti-terrorism efforts, and that she has sponsored or supported 18 attempts to require the federal government to balance its budget.

Snowe blamed Obama for the deep national debt and described the economic recovery during his term as anemic.

“This is the worst post-recession recovery in the history of our country,” she said. “We are a great nation and it’s time we started acting like one.”

She said Republicans can retake the majority in the U.S. Senate, and that they must be the party that demonstrates leadership.

“If Republicans control the Senate, we must validate the trust the American people, hopefully, will have vested in us, by seeking common ground to achieve the common good — to prove to the entire nation that we can govern,” she said.

“Ultimately, when future generations look back at this critical juncture in our history, we want them to say that Republicans rose to the highest levels of leadership this moment in time commanded.”

State House Writer Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

scover@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @smcover