Wednesday, June 19, 2013
From staff reports
Hand it to Gov. Paul LePage. The man knows how to get attention -- and keep us guessing.
The latest proof came Thursday morning, when a liberal blogger released an audio tape of the governor's gruff voice saying he was working on a divisive, ground-breaking and secret initiative, and planned to call the Legislature back to Augusta to pass it.
Republican legislative leaders paused their re-election campaigns to take questions from reporters, only to insist they didn't know what he was talking about.
The governor's staff, apparently blind-sided by the leak and busy trying to contain the speculation, postponed the recording of LePage's weekly radio address from Thursday to Friday.
Online commenters marshaled their outrage and support. By Thursday night, the news report on the Portland Press Herald's website had more than 500 comments. (That's a whole lot -- about half the number of comments LePage generated from around the country when he compared the IRS to the Gestapo.)
On Twitter, rampant speculation and commentary blossomed into Internet meme. A hash tag was created: #LePageSecretPlan.
Bloggers posted their best guesses: Was LePage going to introduce right-to-work legislation? More Medicaid and welfare cuts? Voter ID?
Environmentalists wondered: Maybe the governor will make an anti-climate change proclamation.
Skeptics began wondering aloud whether the whole thing was a ruse.
And when newspapers arrived Friday morning, the governor had once again lived up to his nickname, "Front Page LePage."
Not bad for a two-minute audio clip taken at a Republican fundraiser.
BALDACCI GIVES DILL A BOOST
Baldacci, who flirted with his own run for the open Senate seat, sent out a fundraising appeal for Dill Wednesday.
It was a welcome gesture for the Democratic nominee, who complained publicly that national Democratic officials were snubbing her campaign and tacitly supporting the independent candidate, former Gov. Angus King.
Some Maine Democrats, including sitting lawmakers, publicly endorsed King over Dill.
Polls have shown most Democratic voters were supporting King, too. Maine party leaders, however, maintained that Dill has their support.
Last week's boost from Baldacci appears to confirm that the Maine Democratic establishment hasn't abandoned her.
It may be no coincidence, of course, that Baldacci followed King into office as governor just as the state's economy was stalling and the state budget needed some serious cutting.
In his fundraising letter, Baldacci writes that President Obama and the Democrats in the U.S. Senate need help.
"Can you contribute $12 to help Cynthia and to make sure Democrats maintain the majority in the U.S. Senate?
"I've known Cynthia for many years and she's proven to be a strong advocate for her community, for progressive values and for expanding access to opportunity throughout Maine.
"P.S. This race isn't over. Not by a long shot."
ONE VOTE LAUNCHES IN MAINE
ONE Vote, the global anti-poverty organization founded by U2 singer Bono, is launching a Maine campaign in Portland this week.
The Maine One Vote 2012 campaign is aimed at building membership and public awareness, but the real targets are the candidates for Maine's open U.S. Senate seat.
"We're working in any Senate race where there is an open seat," said Michael Salamon, the group's Northeast coordinator.
(Continued on page 2)