LePage wants Democrats to condemn 'tracker'

PORTLAND — Gov. Paul LePage acknowledged that Democratic State House leaders don't have the authority to rein in a political operative shadowing him at public events, but on Monday he called on them to at least condemn the practice of having the man follow him around with a camera.

Associated Press file photo

Gov. Paul LePage says wants Maine Democrats to condemn the use of a “tracker” who records his public appearances.

The Republican governor abruptly canceled a meeting last week with new leaders elected by the Democratic-controlled legislature over the so-called "tracker." He has yet to meet with them.

"We live in Maine. We're not in Washington. And we're certainly not in a campaign season any longer," said Adrienne Bennett, the governor's communications director. It would show "a bit of good faith," she said, if Democratic legislative leaders would condemn the practice.

The issue is contributing to a frosty atmosphere at the State House, but the Democratic Party says it will continue recording LePage during public appearances.

On Monday, Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves were cool to the governor's request that they criticize what their party is doing.

"It would be hard for us to condemn anything that involves transparency and public accountability," said Jodi Quintero, Eves' spokeswoman. "We don't support any kind of tracking that involves harassment or recording of private conversations at private events," she added.

Ericka Dodge, Alfond's spokeswoman, said the governor should be working with Democrats to resolve the state budget instead of worrying about being videotaped.

"The tracker is not stalking him from the shrubs and bushes and behind trees," she said. "He's showing up at public events."

The tracker, 23-year-old Brian Jordan, said he only uses his video camera at public events and leaves if he's asked, as he did Sunday during an event at Cheverus High School in Portland. On Monday, he was a no-show at a wreath-laying event at the State House Hall of Flags.

Late last week, Alfond sought to end the stalemate by inviting the governor to dinner with Alfond and his wife, but the proposal failed to warm the governor's heart.

The governor didn't view it as genuine proposal since the media was reporting the invitation before he'd had time to review it, let alone respond to it, Bennett said.

"To us, that shows political rhetoric, not a note in good faith that differences can be side aside and we can move forward," Bennett said.

As for the tracker, the Democratic Party is using him in a fundraising appeal. Jordan wrote in an email to party members on Friday that he's simply holding the governor accountable.

"If the governor has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear from me," he wrote.

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Comments

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I have an idea........

Let's just put all the "Spokes People" in a ring and let them solve the whole mess. Sometimes I wonder if the real politicians are nothing but hand puppets for the spokesman. I almost expect Jeff Dunham to show up on stage at the State House, actually he may get more done........

David Lingard Jr's picture

Puppets.....

I absolutely agree with you and i love how you put it.

David Lingard Jr's picture

tracker......

I just do not understand the Governor. The guy is there doing his job. That is to just have public record of what the Governor is doing for the citizens of Maine. His position of being governor is not a secret. He is now in the public eye for all to see. Get over it Gov. Paul LePage you are a worker for the state of Maine. You are not in this for your own personal gain. It is our gain as a state. Just go on with our business and bring our state to a better position of not being in debt or helping people to gain better jobs. Do not just stand there and let the state go to pieces over a camera. This is not elementary school where the teacher stops class til the little kids quiet down.

Lepage+ Tracker

He should concentrate on more important things!

Bob Stone's picture

Celebrate this Joker

Rather than get all worked up over this fresh out of mommy's basement loser running a video cam, LePage should make sure that the people of Maine realize what politics have devolved to around these parts.

When the joker shows up with his little camera, stop the proceedings, or begin the proceedings, with an invite up to a chair right next to the Governor. LePage should introduce his videographer and tell all assembled that he is there for one reason: to catch him in a gaffe. The ultimate "Gotcha Game", indeed, paid for by the Maine Democrat Party.

Paul should determine what his "best side" is, and make sure that the has the Governor's preferred look on his videos.

I would insist that the lout be invited to all meetings with legislators. He should sit right next to the Governor, in a seat of (dis)honor. Maybe the press secretary should hand him a name tag so that taxpayers know who he is.

When he shows up for ribbon cuttings, have him stand right next to the Governor, so he can get a good look at the Governor's scissor work.

If the Governor is presenting an award of some sort, invite the videographer into the shot for the obligatory photo opportunity.

When speaking before large groups, set up a chair on the stage, and ask video guy to come up and get better angles.

I could go on and on, but you get the drift. Don't complain, go along and make this look as foolish and childish as it is.

Tony Morin's picture

Loser and lout?

Easy there Bob. Calm down now. That was a little over the top. He's more like a guy doing his job. No different really than the person standing next to him with the press pass and digital recorder. He actually may be the best thing that has happened to the Governor. Perhaps he has forced the Governor to think before he speaks.

DANNY FITZSIMMONS's picture

and all the bull

Yeah and all the bull he and his cronnies pulled was ok no matter how deceitful sorry but what goes around comes around and what your cronies did to cutler was aok with you too eh!

Gerald Weinand's picture

Remarkable

What's remarkable is that given Gov. LePage's long history of gaffes and offensive comments that anyone would question the need to have a tracker record his public comments. I'm surprised that it's taken the Maine Dems so long to do so.

Here's a list of LePage's gaffes, lies, and flip-flops from just the 2010 campaign - before he told the NAACP to kiss his butt:

http://www.dirigoblue.com/2010/10/a-compendium-of-the-lies-flip-flops-an...

Diana Currier's picture

OH

what a BIG cry baby we have, never knew bullies could be cry babies also, get over yourself boy !

Bob Woodbury's picture

Just like the Republicans stopped tracking...

...Libby Mitchell and Eliot Cutler. Oh - I guess that was different.

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