Former Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe’s trip tale shows harsh side of Washington politics

U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, looks over the boxes of files packed for storage and moving in her offices in Washington, D.C. ,after she gave her farewell address to the Senate and the nation in December 2012.
Scott Thistle | Sun Journal
U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, looks over the boxes of files packed for storage and moving in her offices in Washington, D.C. ,after she gave her farewell address to the Senate and the nation in December 2012.
Posted April 25, 2013, at 9:13 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Former Sen. Olympia Snowe’s new book is a call for the civility she says is missing from modern politics. No wonder, then, that she doesn’t follow the usual Washington template of using a memoir as an opportunity to dish on what you really thought of all those chumps who wronged you.

The Maine Republican’s “Fighting for Common Ground” offers little in the way of the kind of slights we relish reading in Beltway tell-alls. But this anecdote about the bruising business of being a moderate Republican (particularly in the lead-up to the Obamacare vote) is an exception: Snowe describes how during one of the markups of the bill, she tripped over a staffer’s leg and fell — hard.

She was “bruised and sore” but unharmed (as was the cup of coffee she was holding), she writes. “The fall was so hard, however, that it prompted Chairman [Max] Baucus and also Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Blanche Lincoln to follow me back to the anteroom to ask if I was all right.”

Weeks later, prompted by a reporter’s question, she recalled that not one Republican in the room had bothered to ask whether she was OK.

Politics is a contact sport, after all.

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