Monday August 27, 2012 | 12:02 PM

Maine's two U.S. Senators have had some harsh words for their party in the last few days.
 
Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins are both clearly frustrated that Republicans are once again defending a rigid pro-life platform in the wake of the controversial "legitimate rape" comments of Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri.

Snowe wrote an opinion piece published in the Washington Post Friday calling for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to use his upcoming convention speech to repudiate the party's platform and reassure women voters.

"First and foremost, Romney should vigorously, not timidly, disassociate himself from the extremes within our party by reiterating to the national audience that the overly rigid language on abortion in the GOP platform — which includes no explicit exceptions for cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother — does not represent his view, nor has it been his position," Snowe wrote.

"This is Romney’s threshold moment," she wrote. "He must speak concisely and directly about how he’s going to get our country moving again. Indeed, given the recent controversies, he must reach out to women to reassure them that he understands their reality and to show them that his agenda is in their best interest."

Both Snowe and Collins also were quoted in a Newsweek article by Kathleen Parker  posted today on The Daily Beast. The subhead on the article says: "the men of the GOP are driving the party off a cliff."

Collins points out that social issues such as abortion may fire up the base, but won't help win pivotal Senate seats such as the open seat in Maine.

“It seems like we’ve been thrown back decades into debates most everyday people think were settled years ago," Collins said. "This doesn’t mean we’re disrespectful to people who hold a different point of view, but the platform seems designed to alienate a lot of moderate women. I don’t get it.”

Snowe recalled when she organized Republican women in the Congress to meet with then-president Ronald Reagan to discuss women’s concerns. “Can you imagine that happening with a Republican president today?” she told Parker.

And she once again called on Romney to break with the social conservatives and get the discussion back to the economy. "Social issues are the Achilles’ heel of our party, but the economy is the Achilles’ heel of the Obama administration,” Snowe said.

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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or erussell@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or mbyrne@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or rbillings@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or mshepherd@centralmaine.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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