Maine’s moderate Republican senators find themselves unexpectedly empowered in the Obama era. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, along with Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, form the bipartisan wedge President Obama can use to get bills—like the stimulus package—past a Senate filibuster. After years of being taken for granted by the Bush administration, the senators from Maine appreciate the attention, Time reports.
"I had an infinite number of ideas, because they had been stored up," says Snowe of working with the new administration. "Now somebody was listening.” Both senators have bucked the GOP in recent years—Snowe and Collins voted against their party on stem cell research, gay marriage, immigration, and abortion—and they know what awaits. Says Collins: "The elections are over, and now the American people want us to solve problems and stop fighting."