Sen. Snowe Gets Some Close Attention From Obama

By ROBERT PEAR AND DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
The New York Times
December 17, 2009

If there were any doubts that Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine has earned a special place in the hearts of Democrats by being the only Senate Republican to vote for any form of the major health legislation, just consider how she spent her Thursday: First she attended a meeting at the White House for roughly 80 to 90 minutes, a good portion of it one-on-one with President Obama. Later, she and Mr. Obama had a half-hour follow-up call.

By any measure, that is a substantial chunk of the president’s day.

Ms. Snowe supported the health care bill in the Senate Finance Committee after months of working with the chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and four other lawmakers to draft the legislation…

… Ms. Snowe has said repeatedly that she thinks the health care bill is vitally important and would love to be able to vote for it. But she has also contended that Democrats are rushing the process unnecessarily and that as a result the bill will be rife with errors that could take years to fix.

In an interview with reporters at the Capitol on Thursday, Ms. Snowe described her conversations with Mr. Obama as productive.

“They are helpful,” she said. “We have a chance to share our views. So I get a better understanding of his vantage point, his perspective, where he’s coming from on these issues, and likewise he gets to hear my concerns and what I’m thinking at this moment in time. It helps to keep those lines of communications open. We have good free-flowing, straightforward, constructive, productive conversations.”

Ms. Snowe added: “He’s very informal. He’s welcoming and likes to hear what I have to say. He’s pretty organized in his thinking, and his passion for this issue. I think he’d prefer things to be less complex when it comes to the U.S. Senate.’’…

The complete article is at NYT.

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