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Robert F. Bukaty, Associated Press
In this Jan. 8, 2010 photo, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, laughs during an interview with the Associated Press, in Portland, Maine. Snowe, who has served 33 years in Congress, released a statement Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 saying that she will not run for re-election.

PORTLAND, Maine — Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine is taking jab at political extremes in announcing her decision to leave the U.S. Senate, saying she's frustrated by "my-way-or-the-highway" ideologies.

It's a concern she's voiced for years.

She said in April 2009 while discussing being one of a shrinking number of Senate Republicans that it's not healthy having parties with "polar opposite views without that bridge that you need to build consensus."

When U.S. Senator Arlen Spector defected to the Democrats later that month, she said the GOP tent was becoming too small and that Republicans needed to shift to the middle to "become a majority party in the future."

Snowe served 33 years in Congress including three terms in the Senate. Her departure, announced Tuesday, gives Democrats new hope of taking her seat.