WATERVILLE — Nothing was said  openly about Gov. Paul LePage’s “kiss my butt” comment to the NAACP,  but the undercurrent was there at today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast at Spectrum Generations Muskie Center.

Privately, people had plenty to say.

One woman who had met King when she was a teen-ager said she was ashamed of LePage’s comment; others who know LePage said he is the furthest thing from a bigot that you can get.

The Rev. Effie McLain, guest speaker at the event,   got up and enlisted LePage to dance with her when the Colby College African Drumming Ensemble started to dance, encouraging audience participation.

It was a pivotal moment in the festivities. McClain and LePage hugged and the audience applauded.

McClain, who is black, said after the event that she met LePage  for the first time Monday . She does not know why he said what he did about the NAACP, but she thinks that he came “home” to Waterville for MLK Day because that is where he feels safe.

“Sometimes we say things without understanding fully the effect it has on people and the greater community,” she said. “The whole thing is, the man has been beat up for saying something really foolish  and it was foolish  but I don’t think that was his intent.”

LePage attended several MLK breakfasts at the Muskie Center when he was mayor.

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