LePage denies he said 'Obama hates white people'

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage denied on Tuesday that he told donors at a GOP fundraiser that President Barack Obama “hates white people.”

The governor’s administration has refused to talk to the Bangor Daily News about the alleged comments and said the governor had spoken with reporters around noon. A video posted Tuesday by WCSH, the Portland NBC affiliate, showed the governor leaving his office and brushing reporters off.

“I never said that, and you guys are all about gossip,” LePage said in the video.

Someone who attended the event told the BDN on Monday that the governor made the comment during remarks critical of the Affordable Care Act, the president’s health care reform law, at a party fundraiser in Belgrade on Aug. 12.

“It was a typical, off the cuff, off the script, Paul LePage comment,” one attendee, who preferred to remain anonymous because of fear of political reprisals, told the Bangor Daily News on Monday.

LePage’s alleged statement about Obama also was confirmed by two Republican lawmakers who were at the event, according to the Portland Press Herald, which first reported the allegation.

Sources close to the governor have avoided questions about whether LePage made the statement. LePage’s spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, and communications director, Peter Steele, on Tuesday refused to answer questions about the remarks.

During an appearance on The WGAN Morning News on Tuesday morning, LePage political adviser Brent Littlefield — who was not at the fundraiser — worked hard to avoid saying whether the governor made the statement. He also would not say whether he had asked the governor directly about the comment, although he was pressed repeatedly by the show’s hosts. Littlefield told the Bangor Daily News on Monday that he was “not aware of any specific comments” made by the governor.

The GOP fundraiser also was meant to serve as a welcome party for Rick Bennett, newly elected chairman of the State Republican Party.

Bennett has confirmed the governor spoke about the president and about race.

“[LePage] said President Obama had an opportunity to unify the country on race, but didn’t do anything,” Bennett said Monday. When asked whether the governor remarked about the president and white people, Bennett said, “I didn’t hear that.”

Other attendees interviewed by the BDN said they didn’t hear the governor say anything offensive but also said they were not present for all the governor’s comments.

“I never heard him say anything like that,” said Lisa Fortier, who hosted the fundraiser at her home with her husband, John. “I was in the kitchen. I was feeding everybody. I never heard the comment that people say he made.”

Also present at the party was Maine House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, who said he was “in-and-out” of the fundraiser and didn’t hear the comment in question.

Most other lawmakers remained quiet on the issue. Representatives for Maine’s Republican lawmakers said legislators would refrain from commenting on what may or may not have happened at a private event.

“This was at a private fundraiser, said in someone’s home, and we’ll have to refer to the governor’s office about what was said,” said Jim Cyr, spokesman for Maine Senate Republicans, on Tuesday. “I think the setting matters. This was in somebody’s home in an event that wasn’t open to the public.”

David Sorensen, spokesman for Maine House Republicans, also said those legislators “would not comment on unsourced remarks.”

Meanwhile, some Democrats called on the governor and their Republican counterparts to speak up.

“There’s a lot of good Republicans who need to screw up a little courage,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant. “We don’t need further condemnation of Paul LePage. That’s happened in great volume over the past three years, but it’s time for others to stand up and say, ‘This is not who we are.’ I think it would be great to see that from the GOP.”

It would not be the first time the governor had made controversial comments involving Obama. During the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, LePage told a group of fishermen that if he were elected, “You’re going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page, saying ‘Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell.’”

In 2011, shortly after LePage’s inauguration, he told the NAACP and other critics to “kiss my butt” after the group criticized the governor for not attend a ceremony commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.

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I don't think Obama hates

I don't think Obama hates white people, just successfull rich people.

I meant to say white

I meant to say white successful rich people.

The only ones that count...

The only ones that count in this Babbitt Republic.

And Obama, he doesn't care about them.

Nor anyone else...

Obama cares about himself.

LaPage Redux...

Your funny governor is making New Hampshire look good. Keep at it, Paul!

Maine. The Mississippi of the North.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Still trying to get under

Still trying to get under peoples' skins with your inflammatory vitriol,eh, Lindsey? No churches to save so you go around trying to piss off people from another state? Nice.

The guy made the Huffpost...

Methinks the parrot would prefer the words "common sense" and "erudite observations" to "vitriol."

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Splendid. We have a governor

Splendid. We have a governor who never met a dumb thing to say he didn't like. Why not make us feel good with some of your common sense and erudition?

Guess I didn't see it that way...

Sorry.... Don't mean to kick you (Maine) while you're down.... Now I feel like I'm just another Dempster... hitting a booed A-Rod with that bean ball the other night.

I should have more empathy for you...

My bad.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I'll have to admit............

This is a smear campaign, Obama's a racist, the BDN is slanderous, Frank is a cry baby, oh wait, I didn't mean to include that one. All this in response to something everyone who has ever had even a passing interest in the antics of Paul LePage, would have to admit, sounds to much like him, to be false. Did he say this? I don't know. Do I think he said this? yes I do. The funny thing is, he probably said it, without even realizing that he said it.
What I find extremely humorous in all of this is whats not being said. everyone close to the Governor is about as tight lipped as they've been in awhile. When a group of politicians normally as vocal as the Republican Party, suddenly clam up, you just know something big is going on. The woman of the house explaining that she, the host to the Governor, his wife, and numerous dignitaries, wasn't paying attention, she was in the kitchen cooking and feeding everyone. I mean that one is so "down home" innocent, you just have to believe it.
Fact of the matter is, you can't believe any of it. whether you think he did say it, or not. His damage control experts have had time to assess the situation and have made their recommendations. I fully expect Ms. Bennett to implement operation "squirm your way out of this" any day now. I hear it's going to involve a life size cardboard cutout of the Governor, and a tape recorder. I don't know the details. Just make sure to tune in next week for another episode of " Oh, he didn't say what I think he just said, did he?".

Bob White's picture

Wow Frank easy on those meds

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

He was growing up in Lewiston and is today;

Still a major liar and fabricator with, foot in mouth disease.


What do I think of this

What do I think of this story? Not very highly; this is tabloid material and not journalism. Was the reporter there to hear the comment? Is there anyone who was there verifying the comment? This is hearsay by someone who refuses to disclose their identity. This is not the way that we are taught to do things in America. All should be considered innocent until they are proven guilty. Regardless of how one feels about the Governor, he is due this common courtesy of being presumed to be innocent until his attacker comes forward publicly. Shame on the "news" media of this State to even mention such gossip where the gossiper refuses to be identified. We do not need a repeat of the Salem witch trials or the lynch mobs of the old West.

Bob White's picture

Check out the rules that the

Check out the rules that the Sun journal has for the comments its funny maybe they should hold themselves to the same standards

Bob White's picture

Obama is a racist where was

Obama is a racist where was he when the white boy on the bus got beat up buy the three older African Americans boys? (In Florida) why didn't he say that could have been me and my friends on that bus. Heck we had a President getting BJ's in the oval office and he was called one of the best ( not by me) Oh maybe that's the dignity everyone is talking about with Michaud. One other thing Frank your a cry baby

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Haven't you heard, Bob? It's

Haven't you heard, Bob? It's not sex if you don't inhale.


dem propaganda ??

first it was Romney That said Obama hates white people then it was Gingrich now LePage plus several others have reported to have said it but nobody has it on tape if you don't like someone claim they are racist now we have RINO Republicans using the Dems race card funny in a room full of people they were the only ones to hear it or did the reporter make it up seeing as no source is named other than the mythical GOP lawmaker

 's picture

If someone is able to accuse

If someone is able to accuse another person of saying a comment, they should print the names in the paper. This is just another smear tactic with nothing to prove it was said and the papers run with it. Back in the day, newspapers were responsible and one could read the articles and believe what is in them. Now all they are is political arms of the liberals who are out to destroy anyone who doesn't agree with them.

Ken Perry's picture

Lets see what

Kind of Paper the BDN is. Lets see if they stand by a slanderous, hear say story or they fire the slanderous fact twisting reporter. I personally hope the Gov. sues the papers that ran the story before verifying the "FACTS" . People need to be held accountable for their actions, hopefully the BDN will make an example of this and try and re-gain the trust of the public, (ya know the people who make their paychecks possible). Time will tell, but I have a feeling it will just be kept silent......

Steve  Dosh's picture

LePage denies he said 'Obama hates white people'

LSJ ® Tuesday 10:50 am -ish hst ?
What else does he deny ?
jus' askin' :D
/s Steve
" De nile. A river in Egypt ? "

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Doesn't that put the burden

Doesn't that put the burden of proof on the accusers? What's that you say,Steve, there is no proof? Hmm....that's odd.


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