Thursday November 08, 2012 | 06:46 PM

We've been told that Angus King's victory speech on Tuesday night was inspiring, even moving.

Yeah, it was pretty good. The guy has a way with words.

But Andrew Ian Dodge's concession statement? That was pure poetry. (Notice we didn't say good poetry.)

We'll publish them both here for posterity.

From Dodge: A Concession verse

“Bested by Angus, Not that outrageous, A well-loved man, With a bi-partisan plan.
Fought the good-fight, For what was right, My head held high, Critics can try
Ran for right reasons, Liberty for all seasons, Happy to See, Some with me
An independent future, Democracy grows mature, Maine leads the way, A great place to be gay
No regrets never, The message we delivered, It was my pleasure, To follow that endeavor.”

From Sen.-elect King: The Acceptance Speech
Almost 200 years ago the sturdy souls who founded this state settled on a state slogan, "Dirigo", I Lead. But today, Maine gave it new meaning, for tonight, it isn't Dirigo, it's Dirigimus, "We lead."

Maine is leading by saying we're tired of the political divisions that are keeping us from solving real problems and we're tired of politicians whose main purpose seems to be to divide us instead of unite us.

Maine is leading by saying that what we want is listening instead of lecturing, compromise instead of confrontation, and solutions instead of slogans.

People don't care who gets the credit and they don't care who's winning and losing from year to year; what they want is a strong economy, a fair solution to the debt crisis, a strong defense, care for our veterans, and schools that work. And they're tired of the false choice that always seems to confront them.

As a guy said to me early on in this campaign, "I've always wanted the chance to vote for None of the Above, and you're it.:"

And I'm convinced that across this country, there are others who agree and want to follow Maine's lead.

I'm optimistic that today's vote and the message it sends can make a difference in the poisonous state of American politics-- because in the arc of human history and governments, there have always been times of differences and divisions but we know it doesn't have to be that way.

We know this because when a crisis comes, we find we're not that far apart after all.

In Maine's ice storm we reached out to neighbors we never knew; in the aftermath of the terrible morning of September 11, the entire country came together as seldom before, and in the last week, a hurricane and Nor'easter met in the north Atlantic and crashed ashore in New Jersey making improbable allies of an embattled governor and his politically opposite president.

Division is natural; we were all made with different needs, talents and attitudes. There is nothing wrong with this; indeed, it is a strength because it leads to debate and ultimately better solutions. But sometimes, debate can go too far and become difference for the sake of difference and argument for the sake of argument and -- when this happens, we are all the poorer for it. The people are the poorer for it.

And so tonight, the people of Maine have said enough; this far and no farther. 

We respect political differences, but we want to move just a little closer--to the center, to solutions, to civility, to mutual respect.

And today, with the votes cast by the people of Maine, we got closer. There are good, honest, hardworking people in both parties, with good, productive and needed solutions to our problems.

Today, they got closer.

We've seen a lot of this campaign season focus on negatives, and what drives us apart.

But today, we got closer.

And the people of Maine and this country have been working for four years to escape this great recession, and find solutions to our common challenges.

Today, we got closer.

Today, Maine people showed that being fiercely independent doesn't require you to be fierce.

Tomorrow, and for the next six years, my simple goal is to keep proving that -- to be a bridge between my new colleagues on either side of the aisle, to bring people and our country closer to that more perfect union envisioned by the founders.

It may feel at times that we're far apart, that answers are just getting further out of reach. But the overwhelming message from this election is that we're close, and people want us to get closer.

My mandate is clear - listen to the best solutions from every corner, and help my colleagues find common ground in that fertile mix. It's sitting there right out in front of us, and we're ready to walk across, to get closer.

Tonight, Maine has sent a really important message; tonight, we truly lead.

At the moment of the worst divisions ever faced by our country, a young lawyer fresh from the plains spoke to his fellow countrymen of the ties that bind us and the urgent imperative that they not be allowed to break.

His words fell largely on deaf ears that day and it took a terrible war to prove him right for all time, but his eloquent vision can still speak to us today--and I fervently hope we can listen better this time.

Here is what he said, here is what Abraham Lincoln said--

"I am loathe to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.

"Though passion may have strained them, it must not break our bonds of affection.

"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

About the Author

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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
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
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
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
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
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
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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