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Retiring Republican Senator: Contraception Debate Is "Retro"

Olympia Snowe takes a shot at her party for the stage in New York. Warm words for Romney in an interview with BuzzFeed.

Posted on April 2, 2012, at 11:00 p.m. ET

Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

Senator Olympia Snowe speaks to the Women's Campaign Fund gala at Christie's on Monday in New York.

Retiring Maine Senator Olympia Snowe dismissed battles over contraception as "retro" and predicted that Mitt Romney will be elected president during an event in New York City Monday night.

Snowe, a Maine moderate who criticized Washington's partisanship in leaving the Senate, singled out for criticism her party's battle against forcing employers to provide contraception for female employees.

"It really is surprising because I feel like it's a retro debate that comes from the 1950's. It's sort of back to the future, isn't it?" she asked during remarks at a fundraiser for the Women's Campaign Fund.

"Sandra Fluke should have been commended, not condemned, for her courage in expressing her own views and beliefs before members of Congress," she said.

Snowe, who has not formally endorsed a candidate for president, praised former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney in a brief interview with BuzzFeed.

"I've always viewed him as very practical, a problem solver," she said. "That's certainly what he accomplished as Governor and I think he'll apply that as President of the United States."

She said she thought he'd be able to work around the Congressional infighting she deplores.

"I think that Governor Romney will exhibit the kind of leadership necessary to solve the problems," Snowe said.

Snowe received a lifetime achievement award from the Women's Campaign Fund at a cocktail reception at Christie's Auction House. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who, in his center-right political stances and New England background resembles Snowe — introduced the Maine senator, saying that Capitol Hill's "equity, intelligence, and independence are going to suffer" when Snowe retires.

Accepting her award, Snowe said "When I think about where I stand today having made a very difficult decision, I think it's very important to make sure that we endorse bipartisanship."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.