VIDEO AND POLL

Snowe remains vague on what she’ll do next

Posted Feb. 29, 2012, at 7:47 p.m.
Last modified March 01, 2012, at 1:30 a.m.

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Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, stands outside the door to her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday night, Feb. 28, 2012, before she talked about her decision not to run for re-election this fall.
Carolyn Kaster | AP
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, stands outside the door to her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday night, Feb. 28, 2012, before she talked about her decision not to run for re-election this fall.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine speaks to media outside her office on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. The surprising retirement of moderate Snowe moves congressional centrists a step closer to extinction, and illustrates the great paradox of American politics.
Carolyn Kaster | AP
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine speaks to media outside her office on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. The surprising retirement of moderate Snowe moves congressional centrists a step closer to extinction, and illustrates the great paradox of American politics.

Sen. Olympia Snowe remained mum about her post-Senate plans on Wednesday, one day after her unanticipated withdrawal from the 2012 election sparked a frenzy of activity and speculation within Maine’s political establishment.

On Tuesday, Snowe had alluded vaguely to plans to focus on addressing political gridlock in Washington, D.C., when she said she believed “there are unique opportunities to build support for that change from outside of the United States Senate.”

Speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday, Snowe was noncommittal about how she planned to change a Congress she called “dysfunctional” and overtaken by “political paralysis.”

“In looking forward, this is a new chapter in my life,” said Snowe, who is 65. “I decided that if I was going to do something different it had to be at this moment in time. So I am going to be giving my voice to what should change here in the United States Senate and in Congress to get things done for the American people.”

Some people posting on the still-active Olympia Snowe for Senate page on Facebook had their own (perhaps wishful) suggestion for the senator: a Snowe for President campaign.

Snowe’s vagueness, combined with the careful wording of her earlier statement, prompted some bloggers and columnists to speculate whether Snowe did indeed have White House aspirations, especially given grumblings over the current crop of GOP candidates and the tone of the nomination campaign.

Snowe did not return a phone call seeking further comment on her post-Senate plans. Her campaign spokesman, Justin Brasell, declined to elaborate as well, noting that the senator would speak for herself during a press conference slated for Friday in Portland. Asked if he could rule out a presidential bid, Brasell laughed at the question but replied: “I cannot rule that out right now.”

Snowe’s most recent predecessors from Maine — William Cohen and George Mitchell — walked away from the Senate and into powerful positions in government and international relations.

Cohen served as secretary of defense in the Clinton administration while Mitchell helped negotiate a peace accord in Ireland and most recently served as President Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East.

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