Story posted November 13, 2009
Chris Potholm, DeAlva Stanwood Alexander Professor of Government, has become accustomed to the glare of the media spotlight.
Speaking about Maine's same-sex marriage referendum and U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe's role in the on-going national healthcare debate, Potholm has been in newspapers coast-to-coast — and over the border.
In what will be his second television network news appearance in three weeks, Potholm is to be included in a story about Sen. Snowe to air on The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
Promoted as "one of Maine's political gurus," Potholm was the subject of a profile segment that aired on WCSH's program Bill Green's Maine November 14, 2009.
NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell was on campus Thursday, November 12, 2009, interviewing Potholm about Snowe in between catching up with Maine's senior senator in Portland and again in Bath as she spoke with shop owners.
While no firm airdate has been set, the segment is expected to run the week of November 15.
The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams airs locally on WCSH (Channel 6) at 6:30 p.m.
Two days before the November 3 elections, Potholm appeared on ABC World News Sunday and on the network's various Web platforms to discuss Maine's same-sex marriage referendum.
Revered publications from The New York Times to The Los Angeles Times have sought Potholm's observations and insights on a variety of topics.
The article, "Where the Mild Things Are: Olympia Snowe Continues Maine's Long Tradition of Rewarding Pragmatic Senators," reports that Maine has had "some of the most influential senators of the last 50 years," including Republicans Margaret Chase Smith and William Cohen '62, and Democrats Edmund Muskie and George Mitchell '54.
The piece notes that Potholm, while speaking at an event attended by Sen. Snowe at Colby College, credited Smith with creating the archetype of the GOP Maine senator. Read the article.
"She is impervious to an attack from the left or the right. She's a heroine," says Potholm in what is said to be Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper.
"Maine voters want a certain kind of Republican. They wouldn't like her if she did something just to please the right wing or the Republican Party," he says, adding: "People in Maine, regardless of political affiliation, they want our problems solved." Read the article.
"People have a great sense that if anybody knows whether it's a good or bad bill, it will be her," said Potholm in the article, "Snowe Went 'Back and Forth' Till End." Read the article.
The Globe also included Potholm's observations on the matter in its August 18, 2009, coverage. Read the article.
"She's basically untouchable," said Potholm of Maine's senior senator in the article, "All Eyes are on Olympia Snowe in Healthcare Debate." "When the lefty loonies start screaming, or the right-wing kooks come after her, the rest say [she] must be doing something right."
The piece also notes Maine's long-cherished tradition of electing lawmakers unafraid to ignore partisan attachments, and includes as an example William S. Cohen '62, who, as a U.S. Representative, voted to impeach President Richard Nixon.
"The expectation is that a senator from Maine will be a nationally significant figure," says Potholm. "For 60 years the image has been country first, state second and party third." Read the article.
The cable network's Web site carried the article, "Same-Sex Marriage Battle Moves to Maine," which included commentary from Potholm, who notes that the spotlight is now on Maine because of the defeated bill in California.
"I think this is a nationwide effort to get the gay marriage agenda back on track — not just in Maine, but in terms of the whole country," says Potholm in the article. Read the article.
"The defeat in California, which was by no means predicted, was a terrible black eye" for supporters of same-sex marriage, says Potholm in the article, "Same-Sex Marriage Fight Roils Maine."
"They very much want to make Maine a place where they turn that around.’" Read the article.
The paper ran an Associated Press story about the money raised on both sides of the referendum regarding Maine's gay marriage law. "This is a huge national issue coming after defeat of gay marriage in California, and Maine is where the defenders of gay marriage are making their stand," says Potholm in the article. Read the article.
In the article, "States Pressed Into New Role on Marijuana," Potholm sheds light on the interesting nexus between the medical marijuana referendum and another that calls for a ban on same-sex marriage, saying that opponents of same-sex marriage have heavily recruited young, socially conservative voters, who do not tend to be concerned about medical marijuana expansion.
"The 18 to 25-year-old vote is going to be overrepresented because of the gay marriage situation, so overrepresented in favor of medical marijuana," says Potholm in the article. Read the article.