Power Players

Frustrated Senator Olympia Snowe Gives Obama an ‘F’

Jonathan Karl
Power Players

Spinners and Winners

If there were ever a Republican for President Obama to work with, it was Maine Senator Olympia Snowe. She was one of just three Republicans in the entire Congress to vote for his economic stimulus plan in 2009 and even tried to work with him on health care, but in an interview with ABC's Senior Political Correspondent Jonathan Karl, Snowe makes a remarkable revelation:  She hasn't had a face-to-face meeting with President Obama in nearly two years.

Snowe said that if she had to grade the President on his willingness to work with Republicans, he would "be close to failing on that point."  In fact, Snowe, who was first elected to Congress in 1978, claims that her meetings with President Obama have been less frequent than with any other President.

When she announced suddenly in February that she was not going to run for reelection - after three terms in the US Senate and a previous 14 years in the House of Representatives - colleagues and commentators alike were stunned.

"I think a lot of the frustration frankly in our party, in the Tea Party challenges or even Occupy Wall Street is really a reflection of our failure to solve the major problems in our country," said Snowe. "It's become all about the politics, and not the policy. It's not about governing, it's about the next election."

So has this Congress failed the country on those critical questions?

"Absolutely," Snowe asserted.  "You have to sit down and talk to people with whom you disagree," said Snowe. " And that is not what is transpiring at a time when we desperately need that type of leadership."

Sen. Snowe admitted that her party has changed since she entered politics, and that she is a rare moderate in the Republican caucus. That said, she is adamant that her core beliefs are as Republican now as they ever were.

"I haven't changed," she said. "I represent what I think is a traditional Republican… a limited government, fiscal responsibility, strong national defense, individual freedom and liberty."

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