Politics

August 31, 2013

Gov. LePage: 'I never said hate'

The governor offers new explanations to national news media for a racial remark about President Obama.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: LePage's remarks

Do you think some of Gov. Paul LePage’s recent remarks will hurt him politically?

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"We all have faults," Gov. LePage told Bloomberg. "Mine is that I can't keep my mouth shut. I promised my staff: Now until Election Day, when I want to say something that is off-color, I'm going to tape my mouth shut."

AP Photo

"You live in cellars, hallways, brothels, wherever it's warm in the winter, under the stars in the summer," LePage told the Post, referring to his youth in Lewiston. "I've had to eat cat food to survive."

He also said, "When you come from the streets -- OK? -- you develop sort of a mechanism inside of you, which is to protect what's yours."

The governor said his policy achievements have been overshadowed by his controversial statements. In that context, he said he may not run for re-election, apparently saying less about his intention to run and more about his frustration with the reaction to his statements.

"Words, to me, are like thunder," LePage told the Post. "They make a lot of noise, but they don't accomplish anything. ... And if that takes me down, it takes me down." 

Adrienne Bennett, the governor's spokeswoman, said Friday that the Bloomberg interview had been in the works for a while, not prompted by the recent controversy.

She said the Washington Post reporter called the administration Monday. Bennett said she didn't promise an interview with LePage but the reporter came to Maine anyway.

Asked why the governor rarely grants one-on-one access to Maine-based reporters, Bennett said, "Why should he?"

Asked if she was concerned that Mainers wouldn't hear the governor's explanation for his remark, Bennett said she wasn't because Maine newspapers were giving the stories prominent play on their websites and in print. 

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

smistler@pressherald.com

Twitter: @stevemistler

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Today's poll: LePage's remarks

Do you think some of Gov. Paul LePage’s recent remarks will hurt him politically?

Yes

No

View Results