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Former Maine Sen. Snowe Makes Rounds to Promote Book
05/13/2013   Reported By: Tom Porter

Former Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe is doing the media rounds to promote her new memoir, "Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix The Stalemate in Congress." In it she explains her frustration with Congress's inability to get anything done - a frustration which led her to quit earlier this year, after 34 years in Congress, 18 of them in the Senate. Snowe now works for the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit think tank dedicated to the search for political compromise. Tom Porter has more.

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Former Maine Sen. Snowe Makes Rounds to Promote Bo Listen

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This week, Snowe is going to be on CNN's Piers Morgan show, and on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, on Comedy Central. Today Snowe was a guest on NPR's Morning Edition, where she said the harsh reality of the situation in Washington descended upon her in a very short period of time, as she had been "fully immersed" in running for re-election.

"But I became concerned about the tenor in the Senate and what would transpire over the next 6 years," she said, "and came to the regrettable conclusion that it might not change."

And this, she says, got her thinking about her role and how she could best contribute: "Was it better to work on the outside to re-affirm the voices of those people who are so frustrated and who want things to change and their government to work?" she wondered.

She decided that it was, that the stalemate in Congress could not be fixed from the inside. Snowe, who was regarded by her party as a moderate Republican, points out, however, that she doesn't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with the U.S. political system she served - it has more to do, she says, with the people in it.

"It's actually the human behavior," she said. "The institution is flexible, and it's resilient. It's the members of the Senate that have changed the equation."

Snowe also has a reputation for being an independent thinker who was sometimes at loggerheads with her GOP colleagues. She says this personaity trait is partly due to the double tragedy she suffered as a 9-year-old child: Within one year, she lost both her parents - something which taught her to be more independent.

"And also to stand alone at that early age, and making decisions that somebody's not always there to make decisions for you, to think for you, to work through your problems on a day-to-day basis," she said. "So it does engender some of the confidence and any independence that, ultimately, I derived from those experiences."

Former US Senator Olympia Snowe's new book is titled, "Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix The Stalemate in Congress." She will be a guest on MPBN's Maine Calling next week, on May 22. 


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