February 6, 2013

Analysis: LePage’s speech geared for 2014 re-election bid

The Republican governor rehashes his successful talking points of the 2010 campaign.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Staff photo by Joe Phelan Gov. Paul LePage gestures while giving the State of the State address on Tuesday February 5, 2013 in the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Paul LePage
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Gov. Paul LePage attempts to mix humor and introspection with calls for action in his State of the State address Tuesday, but confrontation remains part of his agenda.

Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press

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LePage also criticized the "union bosses" he says are blocking his education reforms. The governor has had repeated battles with the Maine Education Association, the union representing the state's public school teachers. The group also played a part in the 2012 election that stripped LePage of his Republican majorities in the Legislature. The organization figures to be a factor in 2014, too.

On Tuesday, the governor attempted to divide the union from its members, saying in unscripted remarks that union greed was depriving teachers of higher incomes.

Confrontation with potential opponents made up a significant portion of the governor's speech. But he also attempted to mix humor and introspection with calls for action.

He joked about his reputation for appearing angry, saying it was a symptom of his passion for education. Education, along with "a lot of luck and some good friends," he said, lifted him out of poverty and "a life in prison or life on the streets." Education, he said, saved his life.

Circling back to his compelling personal story marked another return to the 2010 campaign, during which he spoke frequently about how his early life of poverty shaped his ambition.

LePage said it never occurred to him when he was a homeless youth that he could be a "successful businessman, a mayor or even a governor." Going off script, he added, that he only wanted to be a truck driver for the Pepsi Cola Co.

The remark drew laughter from the crowd, as did the governor's quip that he was working on appearing more passionate and less angry.

There may be some who doubt that LePage can change his demeanor, but after Tuesday, it's unlikely that many will doubt he will run for re-election in 2014.

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at: smistler@pressherald.com

 

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Additional Photos

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Staff photo by Joe Phelan Gov. Paul LePage, left, chats with Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, as he enters the House chamber to give his State of the State address on Tuesday February 5, 2013 in the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Staff photo by Joe Phelan Speaker of the House Mark W. Eves, D- North Berwick, left, chats with Gov. Paul LePage before the governor gives the State of the State address on Tuesday February 5, 2013 in the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Staff photo by Joe Phelan Senate President Justin Alfon, left, claps during Gov. Paul LePage's State of the State address on Tuesday February 5, 2013 in the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Staff photo by Joe Phelan Gov. Paul LePage waves as he mounts the rostrum to give the State of the State address on Tuesday February 5, 2013 in the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Staff photo by Joe Phelan Legislators turn clap for someone in the gallery mentioned during Gov. Paul LePage's State of the State address on Tuesday February 5, 2013 in the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

 


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