Maine Senator Susan Collins Wooed As Second Possible Health Care Crossover Vote

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Over the past month, the White House and Democratic leaders have been upping their pressure on Maine senator Susan Collins to cross party lines and vote for their proposed health-care reform. According to the Washington Post, she's met with White House budget guru Peter Orszag, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and even sat down with Rahm Emanuel for an hour (a meeting during which the president stopped by for 25 minutes). Having been reelected with over 60 percent of the vote in her last election, Collins is in the unusual position of being so widely trusted in the state, whichever way she falls won't likely take a toll on her with Maine voters. Now she has the power to extract concessions from whomever she wants over this issue, bringing home more help to her constituents.

Collins's like-minded Maine colleague Olympia Snowe already voted for the Senate Finance version, allowing it to finally get out of committee. When focus shifted to Collins earlier this month, we made the crack that "As goes Maine, so goes ... Maine." The two vote together so frequently — even occasionally standing alone together against their party — it's hard to think of them separately sometimes. But reading the Post article today, we were reminded of one of our favorite things that happens whenever the two are covered in the press together. There's always a line like this, in every story (emphasis ours):

Snowe and Collins, who are not personally close and are at times competitive, could be critical crossovers.

Is that a necessary detail? No. It's like the political version of, "Claire Danes, who stole Billy Crudup away from a pregnant Mary-Louise Parker, could be an Oscar contender." Not key to any particular story, but always so much fun to write!

New focus on Maine's other centrist Republican senator [WP]