PORTLAND — Maine Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage told a group of fishermen at a GOP forum that he won’t be afraid to tell President Barack Obama to “go to hell.”

LePage said it at a fisheries forum in Brooksville as during a discussion of federal regulations that critics say are driving Maine fishermen to poverty. The remark was caught on video by a Democratic Party aide.

LePage said, “As your governor, you’re going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page, saying ‘Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell.'” Listen to the sound bite or listen to the remark in a longer context.

LePage tells The Associated Press that he regrets his choice of words, but he stands behind its intent. He says the administration’s spending is driving up the national debt and “taking us to a place where my children and my grandchildren will never come back.”