During a lunch-hour speech in downtown Cleveland today, former Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe called for a return to bipartisanship in Washington. ideastream's Nick Castele reports.
After 34 years in Congress, Olympia Snowe left her Senate post at the end of her third term in January, saying she was fed up with partisan gridlock. In her speech at the City Club of Cleveland, Snowe said the last few years' brinkmanship over the debt limit show how Congress has abandoned its role as a problem-solving body.
"It does underscore the degree to which we have short-changed the capacity of this country to tackle big issues," Snowe said. "Because we are running this country by deferral, delay and default."
Snowe says Congress could be moving on an immigration bill passed by the Senate but stalled in the House. And she faulted the president and congressional leadership for the lack of a long-term plan to address the debt.
Snowe says she still believes in the Senate's potential, even though she left it.
"But I thought I could use my experience and my voice on the outside to reaffirm the public's frustration, but more importantly to do something about it," she said.
She's hoping to change the makeup of Congress, working in tandem with moderate former GOP Congressman Steve LaTourette of Geauga County. Snowe says with separate political action committees, she and LaTourette plan to support moderate candidates in primaries against more ideological opponents.