Thursday, April 24, 2014
Above is the first clip of Gov. Paul LePage's impromptu press conference that was held Wednesday following the Legislature's override of the governor's veto of the state's two-year budget. Below is the second, shorter clip.
It was a wide ranging interview. The governor was critical of both Republicans and Democrats (:56) for passage of a budget that he believes will keep Maine at the bottom of the list of states in which to do business. He said he wasn't surprised by the result (1:15), adding that neither party would negotiate with him.
He was asked if he took any solace in the fact that the budget funded the 2011 tax cuts that he and Republicans made a priority to defend (1:40). His answer: No. LePage went on to say that a rollback of the tax cuts would have led to a "massive Republican victory" in 2014.
He was also asked about Republicans sustaining nearly all of his vetoes (3:12), at which point he compared himself to the former British General Charles Cornwallis, who won most of his victories against the American colonists until losing the biggest battle of all, the Battle of Yorktown.
LePage continued to criticize Republicans and Democrats for not negotiating the budget (8:40). He was asked about House Republican leader Rep. Kenneth Fredette's comments during the floor debate during which he said his party needed to end "the circular firing squad," a reference to party infighting. LePage initially said "no comment" before adding that the Maine Republican party was weak.
The governor also seemed puzzled that the Legislature was scheduled to take up the decisive vote on his override of the omnibus energy bill (10:43). LePage went on to say Fredette, one of the bill's lead sponsors, had not met with him to talk about the proposal.
At 11:17 LePage made it clear that he wasn't running for Congress, putting to rest -- for now -- the media frenzy he ignited last week when he said he was thinking about it. He went on to say he wasn't sure if he'd seek a second term, which of course, touched off a new, equally speculative frenzy on Thursday.
In the second clip, LePage expresses frustration that no Republican lawmaker defended him when he attempted to speak at the budget-writing committee in late June, but was silenced by chairwoman Sen. Dawn Hill, D-Cape Neddick.Tweet
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.