Gov. Paul LePage vows to be more like an embattled Wisconsin governor while blaming union bosses for woes in the Maine education system.
These assertions and more surfaced Thursday after a Maine political writer claimed to have received a tape of LePage's speech to the Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce the night before.
According to a blog posted by reporter Mike Tipping, LePage didn't know he was being recorded while delivering the speech. In fact, the governor had asked that recording devices be banned.
"Thanks to an anonymous source," Tipping wrote in the Bangor Daily News blog The Tipping Point, "I have a recording of LePage’s speech, which includes a number of statements that should raise questions and/or eyebrows."
Tipping doesn't waste words from there. The reporter says that in addition to several jaw-dropping comments, LePage committed during the speech, to run for re-election.
"First up is this remark about next year’s gubernatorial election," Tipping writes. "Not only does LePage commit to running again (a statement he has avoided making so far) but he promises that he will 'be the next Scott Walker,' a reference to the divisive Wisconsin governor who survived a high-profile recall election last year after he attempted to strip union bargaining rights from public employees."
Tipping includes a link where visitors can listen to the audio in question. He also includes text of some of LePage's remarks.
“I will guarantee you that you will see the most vicious education campaign ads that you’ve ever seen in your life next year," LePage is quoted as saying, "because I am going to be the next Scott Walker in this country, because I am challenging the status quo."
According to Tipping, LePage says that the ads will come from “out-of-state union bosses” the governor claims are the cause of problems in Maine’s education system.
Tipping says he was told by Skowhegan Chamber Executive Director Cory King that no media were at the event and LePage’s staff asked the organizers to prohibit any recording devices from being used.
He did not say who provided the audio from the event.
In his blog, Tipping suggests he has "a week's worth of blog posts" from the recording, "but I'll try not to drag it out for that long."
According to his online biography, "Tipping writes about Maine politics and policy with a focus on analysis and explanation. He works at the Maine People’s Alliance and Maine People’s Resource Center, writes a political column for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel."