May 12, 2013

Snowe presses for bipartisanship in new book

The parties have become more interested in making each other look bad and focusing on re-election than doing what's best for the nation, she says.

The Associated Press

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The cover of former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe's new book, which is being released Tuesday.

The Associated Press

Snowe, 66, came about her independence through being orphaned at age 9 and sent off to an out-of-state boarding school run by the Greek Orthodox Church. After returning to Maine, tragedy struck again at age 26 when her husband, Peter Snowe, a state lawmaker, died in a car crash. She ran for his seat and won, launching her political career.

Her life experience shaped her philosophy: "My concept of government's role in people's lives is that it is limited but legitimate, and essential when people have nowhere else to turn," she wrote.

By her last term, Snowe writes that a senator's willingness to reach across the aisle had become a "scarlet letter" instead of badge of honor. And her willingness to do so had led to frustration among her increasingly conservative Republican colleagues.

She got a chuckle from an episode during the markup of the president's health care bill in which she tripped and fell to the floor, hard enough for there to be a collective gasp in the room.

Perhaps it was telling that three Democratic senators hopped up to check on her. Reflecting on it, she doesn't read too much into the fact that no Republican colleagues jumped to action. But, she added, "It certainly was interesting symbolism of the time and moment."


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