So that must have been interesting.

Gov. Paul LePage made an unexpected appearance Wednesday at a state budget forum with state Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth. The forum is one of several that Democratic lawmakers are hosting in their local districts across the state, an effort designed to deliver their take on the budget directly to constituents. LePage has been on his own budget road tour, but apparently decided to pop in at the Cumberland Town Hall, presumably to make sure that his argument for the budget and its massive tax overhaul were heard. This may seem unusual, but not for LePage, who is nothing if not unpredictable (Update: Republican House staff say Rep. Michael Timmons, R-Cumberland, who also attended the event, asked someone from the governor’s office to attend. Apparently LePage decided to go instead of sending a staff person.)

Gov. LePage's state-issued SUV at Cumberland Town Hall.

Gov. LePage’s state-issued SUV at Cumberland Town Hall. He does not drive the vehicle. His security detail does.

The totality of the governor’s remarks Wednesday isn’t clear. However, after taking over the podium, he did field some questions from the audience, including his first public response to the public spat between him and best selling author Stephen King. In the above clip, which is hosted on the Maine Democratic Party YouTube feed, an unidentified man asks the governor if he’s going to apologize for falsely claiming in last week’s radio address that King didn’t pay income taxes in Maine.

The governor denied that he ever did.

“I never said that, sir, so I’m not going to apologize,” LePage replied. “I never said Stephen King did not pay income taxes. What I said was, Stephen King’s not in Maine right now. That’s what I said.”

Here’s what LePage originally said in his weekly radio address, which touched off a wave of national news stories and several requests from the Master of Horror for an apology.

“Well, today former Governor Ken Curtis lives in Florida where there is zero income tax. Stephen King and Roxanne Quimby have moved away, as well.”

The governor’s communications staff scrambled to delete the reference to King and Quimby. Why? Because it’s incorrect. And, also, because it implies King no longer lives here, and therefore, no longer pays income taxes here.

The governor appeared to begin elaborating, but the rest of his remarks were cut off in the clip. Nonetheless, the local cable access network is believed to have captured the entire forum.

Read more of the story: LePage: I didn’t say Stephen King doesn’t pay taxes, so no apology 

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