Olympia Snowe Pt. 1

  • Aired:  05/15/13
  •  | Views: 49,678

Former Maine Senator Olympia Snowe shares her perspective on the lack of bipartisanship in American government, and offers suggestions for fixing the system. (5:54)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT FORMER UNITED

STATES SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF

MAINE.

HER NEW BOOK IS CALLED FIGHTING

COMMON GROUND.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM

OLYMPIA SNOWE.

HOW ARE YOU?

NICE TO SEE YOU.

>> WOW.

BIG AUDIENCE.

WOW.

>> Jon: THEY'RE A FINE, FINE

GROUP OF PROUD AMERICANS.

>> GREAT TO BE HERE

Jon: IT IS NICE TO BE HERE.

A VERY POPULAR SHOW.

>> IT IS

Jon: HERE'S THE BOOK RIGHT

HERE.

FIGHTING FOR COMMON GROUND.

HOW TO GET THE STALEMATE OUT OF

CONGRESS.

YOU KNOW WHAT IS SO INTERESTING

TO ME?

THIS BOOK IS ALWAYS WRITTEN BY

SENATORS AFTER THEY LEAVE THE

SENATE.

WHENEVER THEY LEAVE THE SENATE

THEY ALWAYS GO, YOU KNOW WHAT

THOSE GUYS SHOULD DO?

>> BUT I'VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL

THEM THAT FOREVER.

>> Jon: WHY IS IT SO HARD TO DO

WHEN YOU'RE THERE?

>> WELL, I DO.

I TALK TO MY COLLEAGUES.

WHAT I SAY IN THE BOOK IS

NOTHING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT I

WOULD SAY TO MY COLLEAGUES, EVEN

TALKING TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE

UNITED STATES.

BUT ACTUALLY I DIDN'T EVEN

INTEND TO WRITE A BOOK WHEN I

MADE MY DECISION NOT TO SEEK

RE-ELECTION.

BUT SOME PEOPLE SUGGESTED IT.

AND TO LAY IT OUT THERE ONTO

HAVE IT COME OUT AT THIS PERIOD

OF TIME WHICH IS CRITICAL TO THE

COUNTRY BECAUSE THIS IS THE

MOMENT IN CONGRESS WHERE THE

PRESIDENT AND THE CONGRESS

SUPPOSEDLY...

>> Jon: NOTHING IS GOING TO

HAPPEN NOW.

WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING

NOW...

>> YOU ALREADY KNOW THAT?

Jon: YOU HAVE A BETTER CHANCE

OF IMPEACHMENT THAN BACKGROUND

CHECKS RIGHT NOW.

LET ME ASK YOU THIS.

YOU WERE THERE.

THIS IS THE THING THAT I CAN'T

WRAP MY HEAD AROUND.

IN 2009 YOU GUYS HAVE A RETREAT.

AND YOU'RE IN THE LIBRARY OF

CONGRESS.

AND I GUESS IT'S IN THE RETREAT

ROOM.

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

>> THE RETREAT ROOM?

NOT LITERALLY

>> Jon: WHEREVER THEY HAVE THE

SNACKS.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

Jon: WHEREVER THEY KEEP THE

COOKING BOOKS.

THERE.

MITCH McCONNELL STANDS UP AND

SAYS WE WILL DENY THIS PRESIDENT

BIPARTISANSHIP.

WE WILL NOT GIVE HIM THAT.

NOT WE WILL LOOK FOR LEGISLATION

THAT BEST SERVES THE AMERICAN

PEOPLE.

WE WILL DENY THIS MAN ANY

BIPARTISANSHIP.

DOES ANYONE RAISE THEIR HAND AND

GO, THAT SEEMS PETTY?

WHAT HAPPENS THERE?

>> WELL, AS YOU KNOW, IT DIDN'T

UNFORTUNATELY HAPPEN ON... I

MEAN IT DID HAPPEN ON

BIPARTISANSHIP.

NO ONE WORKED ON BOTH SIDES

EXCEPT A FEW OF US.

THE STIMULUS WAS THE BEGINNING

OF THAT PROCESS IN 2009.

ONLY THREE OF US ENDED UP VOTING

FOR IT.

BY WORKING WITH THE PRESIDENT.

YOU KNOW, THE WHEELS CAME OFF SO

SOON IN THE ADMINISTRATION AND

WITH CONGRESS.

WHICH WAS STUNNING AND

SURPRISING FRANKLY.

>> Jon: IT'S SURPRISING WHEN

THERE'S A MEETING, WHEN THEY

LITERALLY SIT AND GO, WE WILL

NOT WORK TOGETHER.

IS THAT NOT SURPRISING?

THAT'S THE OPPOSITE OF

SURPRISING WHEN YOU GO, WELL,

THAT WAS OUR PLAN.

THAT WORKED.

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, ON ONE HAND

TO SAY IT.

IT'S QUITE ANOTHER TO FULFILL IT

>> Jon: BUT THEY DID FULFILL IT.

I KNOW.

PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES SAY A LOT

OF THINGS BUT YOU GET PAST THAT

AND YOU WORK TOGETHER.

THAT'S WHAT SHOULD HAVE

HAPPENED.

THAT'S WHAT DIDN'T HAPPEN.

THAT'S TRAGIC

>> Jon: WHAT'S THE PUSHBACK

LIKE?

>> WHAT?

I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE PUSHBACK.

I'M ALWAYS PUSHING BACK.

>> Jon: THEY DID NOT CARE FOR

YOU?

>> NO.

LITERALLY ON THE FRONT LINES

EVERYDAY.

THAT'S WHY, YOU KNOW, I WAS

CALLED A DINOSAUR AND A R.I.N.O.

>> Jon: THESE GUYS GET THERE,

YOU GET MANCHIN FROM WEST

VIRGINIA AND TOO MANIY FROM

WHEREVER THE HELL THAT GUY IS

FROM.

>> PENNSYLVANIA

Jon: THEY GHETTOING AND DO A

BIPARTISAN BACKGROUND CHECK

AMENDMENT.

THEY SAY THEY'VE GOT 70 SENATORS

LINED UP.

THE N.R.A. SAYS THEY'RE GOING TO

SCORE IT.

THAT DROPS TO 54.

54 IS STILL A MAJORITY.

IT GETS DEFEATED BECAUSE OF THE

SILLINESS OF THE FILIBUSTER.

>> BUT LET'S GO BACK.

90% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

SUPPORTED THAT INITIATIVE,

RIGHT?

>> Jon: YES.

OKAY.

AND SO 10% OPPOSED IT.

WAS THE 10% LOUDER THAN THE 90%?

THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

WE'VE ALL GOT TO SPEAK UP.

THAT'S WHY MAKING SURE THIS...

>> Jon: YOU DON'T PEOPLE SPOKE

UP ABOUT BACKGROUND CHECKS?

>> NO.

CALLING MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND

MAKING SURE THEY HEAR FROM THOSE

90%.

>> Jon: THEY DON'T ANSWER OUR

CALL.

THEY ONLY ANSWER THE N.R.A.'S.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> AND YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE.

THAT'S WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK.

YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE SO THAT

YOU CAN REINFORCE THOSE VOICES

AND BACK THEM UP.

YOU HAD A RALLY "RESTORE

SANITY."

>> Jon: YEAH, THAT WORKED.

THAT LASTED 15 MINUTES.

>> JON, DO IT AGAIN.

WOULD YOU ALL CALL YOUR MEMBERS

OF CONGRESS?

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

ABSOLUTELY.

>> Jon: REPRESENTATIVE

GOVERNMENT THAT HAS 90% SUPPORT

FOR AN ISSUE AND 70 SENATORS

THAT WOULD DO IT IF NOT ONE FOR

LOBBYING GROUP'S OBJECTIONS

SHOULDN'T HAVE TO READ A BOOK

AND CALL PEOPLE TO GET THAT

DONE.

THAT'S A BROKEN SYSTEM.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> I AGREE WITH YOU.

Jon: WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A

COMMERCIAL BREAK.

I ALSO WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE

A.R.B. STUFF.

THIS IS VERY INTERESTING.

YOU, MY FINE FRIEND, WROTE THE

A.R.B. LEGISLATION.

SHE IS ONE OF THE PEOPLE THAT

GOT ACCOUNTABILITY REVIEW BOARDS

IN PLACE.

IT SOMETHING THAT TURNED OUT TO

BE VERY HELPFUL.

WE'LL BE BACK AND

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