November 7th, 2012
04:26 PM ET
10 years ago

King says he's an independent, not a 'stunt'

(CNN) - Angus King, the Maine independent who has won election to the U.S. Senate, said on CNN Wednesday he represents a serious attempt to bring bi-partisanship to Washington.

"I ran on the platform of trying to call them as I see them, not be locked into a party position one way or the other," he said on CNN's "Newsroom." "But on the other hand, it isn't a stunt - I'm not going down there just to plant the flag and not get anything done."

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King has not said with which party he would caucus once in office, but members of both parties expect he would caucus with Democrats. The chamber has another independent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who caucuses with Democrats.

He is a former two-term governor in the state and will fill the seat of the retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe, an independent voice in the Republican Party. In announcing she would not seek a fourth-term, Snowe decried what she saw as increasing partisanship in Washington.

"I ran for the mirror image of the reason she left," King said in his interview. "She said she couldn't take it anymore and I ran because I think we just got to, we have to try it a different way."

Sen. Patty Murray, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairwoman, said in a Wednesday conference call with reporters that she has not talked with King since the election but hopes to "in the near future."

"I'm sure he'll make his own choices in the next few weeks if he decides where he wants to land," she said. "But I do have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and I think he'll be a great senator."

Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he had not talked to King yet and did not know with whom he would caucus, "but he's an open minded guy."

King's position on the "fiscal cliff" is most closely aligned with Democrats' position. Absent congressional action, this set of spending cuts and tax increases is set to take effect in the new year - and economists say it is very likely to push the economy into recession.

Democrats generally believe that both tax increases and spending cuts should be part of the solution, while Republicans are opposed to tax increases.

"The answer to that is no, you can not, its got to be both," King said, asked if the federal deficit can be patched with spending cuts alone. "I believe basically everybody in Washington with the possible exception of [tax opponent] Grover Norquist knows that."

King said he would support a model similar to the one proposed by the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction panel convened by President Barack Obama, whose recommendations the president did not actively pursue.

King said in the interview he looks to meet with the chamber's top Democrat and Republican before deciding with which party he will caucus.

"There are really two criteria that I've honed it down to, and one is the extent I can maintain my independence and the second is how effective I can be on behalf of Maine," he said.

Filed under: 2012 • Maine
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Sabrina

    Hooray for Independents! We need to vote in more of 'em 🙂

    November 7, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Sabrina

    Hooray for Independents. We need to vote in more and expand our horizons beyond the same-old same-old of the two party system.

    November 7, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    ""The answer to that is no, you can not, its got to be both," King said, asked if the federal deficit can be patched with spending cuts alone. "I believe basically everybody in Washington with the possible exception of [tax opponent] Grover Norquist knows that."

    followed by

    "he looks to meet with the chamber's top Democrat and Republican before deciding with which party he will caucus. "

    HA! Welcome to the Democratic caucus, sir. At elast try to have fun during your interview with Captain Foreskin Chin.

    November 7, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. GOP = Greed Over People!

    President O ran and won re-election with an agenda of increasing revenue by increasing taxes on those making $250K and up.

    He was elected by winning the popular vote and electoral college.

    His "mandate" is he is the first Presidenr elected by saying he would increase taxes.

    Therefore, he is duly and legally elected and represents the majority of voting Americans.

    Boehner needs to realize the President IS REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE, not Boehner, shut-up the "will of the people" and get to work saving this great country from the GOP contrived "fiscal cliff".

    November 7, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. DENNA

    I am guessing that after last night, the GOP will be more willing to try bipartisanship. I mean, the my way or the highway act didn't play well so they need to try something else. How about doing your job for the American people?

    November 7, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. C Crowder

    An Open letter to our Political Leaders * in Washington

    * aka the Nitwits.

    Now that the election is officially over your excuses for doing nothing for the last several years, while still getting paid, are over.

    When we elected you last time around we actually believed that you would do something constructive on our behalf, other than acting like spoiled three year olds. But since it appears you are all reverting to predictable and infantile behavior ( " We have a mandate...." " No no , we have a mandate" ) the people who you actually work for are going to remind you what we tell our real 3 year olds when we send them off to pre-school ( or in your case off to D.C. ).

    1) Take turns speaking. No one likes to be interrupted. Especially by someone who thinks if they repeat the same lies over and over eventually someone (the stupid voters) will believe them.

    2) Treat others as you want them to treat you. If you treat them like s*** , then you shouldn't be surprised when they pack your lunch bag with a s*** sandwich.

    3) Improve your vocabulary. A slight majority in the Presidential election, or the House of Representatives, is not a "mandate." It was close for a reason – because most folks think both parties are doing a c*** job. To our dismay there wasn't an option on the ballot for "none of the above. " I know because I looked everywhere for that. And if there had been, then "None of the above" would have been giving a lot of victory speeches last night .

    4) Share your toys with others. You can't all get 100% of what you want 100% of the time. Thats why its called "sharing." It means that sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes the other person gets what they want. And sometimes neither of you gets exactly what you want. We adults would call that "compromise." You should both walk away thinking that maybe the other person got the better deal. Not the other way around.

    5) A specific message to President Obama and Mr Boehner – a teacher ( i.e. Leader) does not let the class miscreant (i.e. "lunatic fringe of your party) hold the rest of the classroom hostage with their inappropriate behavior. You put them in "time out" and find something more constructive for the rest of the class to spend their time on together.

    Now give us a kiss before you go, and make us proud.
    – Dad
    PS – we will be watching.

    November 7, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. California Gary

    Welcome to the fray the way, I like your beef.

    November 7, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. nothing new here

    We need more people, in leadership, like Angus King – people that can think with their own minds, and that are serious about moving this country forward.

    November 7, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. just sayin

    he's a kook just like Bernie Sanders. he'll last a term, maybe two then leave. he won't accomplish anything during that time. he does have that grisly main look about him though. btw, when did maine become a gay mecca?

    November 7, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. al in memphis

    King I agree with you. Maybe you can be a voice behind the independents and their stake in the ground that politicians are going to work for the people or they are out the door. We will rally behind you to expose anyone for either party that is in Washington for any reason other than to get these problems fixed.

    You are an independent and you don't need the political backing of either party, so stir it up and expose anybody who is not trying to reach a consensus. I don't live in Maine, but will be more than happy to make sure you are reelected when the big money party people try to come for your Senate seat!

    November 7, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    What would be thwe "stunt" anyway? So what if he wa a liberal and ran as "Independent"? Conservatives do it all the time here in MA because sticking an R next to your name gets you summarily dismissed by a lot of the voters and they at least want to get people to give them a look. The only reason CNN and the MSM feel comfortable referring to him being an Independent as a "stunt" is becuase, well, IOKIYAR....and if you're not, might as well have a target on your back.

    November 7, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. clarke

    We need more to keep a good balance. Helps keep others on their toes.

    November 7, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  13. DENNA

    @C Crowder – I loved your post. Let's just hope that the little boys & girls on both sides start sharing their toys. If the Tea Party candidates (that's the entire GOP House) had been willing to compromise with the president for the good of the country we may have been further along in the economy at this point in history. It's not about making the president look bad to please your constituents, it's about moving America along to a better place. Try it, you'll like it.

    November 7, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  14. GonzoinHouston

    Based on this one article, I like the guy! I'm sure he'll caucus with the Demmies.

    November 7, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |