Those who know LePage say angry reaction to reporters' questions in character

AUGUSTA — As the owner of a vacuum-cleaner shop, Dale Hatch knows about dirt. And he said that’s just what Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage’s lashing out at reporters asking questions about his taxes was all about.

Paul LePage
Pat Wellenbach

In this Monday, Sept. 13, 2010 photo, Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage, center, angrily answers questions from the media about taxes paid on a home in Florida, before abruptly exiting a news conference in Augusta, Maine. A couple hours later, after cooling down, he offered a full accounting to The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)

“As near as I can tell, this is just another attempt for them to dig up dirt on one of the gubernatorial candidates,” Hatch said in his downtown shop Tuesday. “We don’t have clean politics anymore. It’s all a matter of mud-slinging.”

Those who know him say it was vintage LePage. And Maine politics-watchers said the outburst would actually play well with his supporters.

In the State Office Building’s press area to talk about his job-creation plan Monday, LePage was pummeled with questions about property tax exemptions on his wife’s homes in Florida and Maine. He became angry, accused reporters of acting like snoops from the National Enquirer and stormed out. The scene was replayed repeatedly on TV news and prominent in Maine newspapers.

An hour later, he uttered a barnyard epithet when asked again about the tax issues in Portland. After cooling down, he circled back and offered a full accounting to The Associated Press, and attempted to clear the air by saying he’s returning his $191 Maine exemption and won’t accept any future ones in either state.

“I don’t think his performance surprised many people who’ve seen him over the years. Because he says what he thinks and he doesn’t filter himself,” said Sandy Maisel, Colby College political science professor. “To me that was not a gubernatorial performance.”

Mark Brewer, political science professor from the University of Maine, said he expected that the video showing LePage losing his cool would be replayed by those trying to score political points. His prediction became true before Tuesday ended.

An e-mail circulated by the Maine Democratic Party included links to video footage of LePage telling a reporter, “Let’s stop the bull---- and let’s answer the questions the way they should be answered.” He later apologized for his language.

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Libby Mitchell launched new TV ads in which she personally criticizes LePage for what she sees as his weak stand on environmental protection. Three independents — Eliot Cutler, Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott — are also in the race to fill the open governor’s seat. Two-term Democrat John Baldacci is barred from seeking a third consecutive term.

LePage, a favorite of Maine’s tea party contingent and general manager for a discount department store chain, has called for a smaller, more business-friendly government and tax cuts.

Brewer said LePage’s outburst won’t matter to his core constituency, because a fair number of them are distrustful of the mainstream media anyway.

“They are going to be some who say, ‘Good for him. Good for him for lashing out at the biased media,’” Brewer said.

Maisel also said LePage’s outburst probably won’t hurt him with his core constituency, but he thinks those on the fence could back away because of the way he handled himself.

Augusta voter Fritz Spencer said he thinks Monday’s events amounted to little more than “a feeding frenzy by the press,” but will nonetheless hurt the candidate.

“The press lives by controversy,” he said.

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Comments

Hot head

well he had said that he was running and not his wife..if he doesn't have a clue what is going on in his private life , then I don't think a person like him should be running Maine...as a property owner in these 2 states, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to fill out the forms that were in question..looks like double dipping to me

Jerome Young's picture

XYX, you may not believe

XYX, you may not believe this, but i do read what you post here. I think we agree or disagree on what is written in these articles. To say, "PLEASE PAY attention" is really very insulting. I am paying attention. The politics is new. I am a great admirer of Libby Mitchell. She has quite a history. I think, in terms of thirty years...she made the right choices for the times. Bad or good, that's for others to decide. The current election is a contest of ideas, or....where does the money come from? Government is dependent on PRIVATE sector revenue. Maine GOVERNMENT, in the past eight years, IS adversarial to all of us who work real hard. Those who quiver at the beginning of the month, awaiting "their money" at the mailbox, best be looking for a job. Mowing lawns, picking up trash, some money at doing anything. The problem is......there is no more money. At some point.....China and Japan.....is going to say.....nope... we are not going to loan you more money. So, no more eating "Fritos" and posting ridiculous comments on this message board, knowing that the check for your living comes from others who are working.
And....what is you re obsession with creationism? Are you a nut? Do you know anything about Macro evolution vs micro evolution? Doe's the MATH justify either? Can you NAME neucleopeptides that involve evolution? and DNA? I breathlesslly await your "paying attention."
But. Like you I am waiting to see what Paul has to say. As a working person, I will no doubt ask others who work and pay TAXES, not those who wait quivering for their VICTIMS paycheck.

Jerome Young's picture

This is an indictment of the

This is an indictment of the press and who they support. THIS was REALLY funny. I laffed my A** off. Mayor LePage introduces what he is going to DO on a number of difficulties with Maine Government. The press does NOT ask him about the subject at hand. They ask him about a $191.00 mistake on taxes, when Maine s facing a BILLION S-T-R-U-C-T-U-R-A-L dollar shortfall! Then, oh no, he victimizes the PRESS. Those poor suffering reporters , having to be subject to a guy who is NOT a smarmy, drooling, talk out of both sides of his mouth politician. Wow, he didn't make them FEEL important. Doesn't he know who they ARE! Unforgivable! It's true, it's true, the press are all victims of......a guy... who got pissed off by stupid and insulting questions. I hope Mayor Lepage calls them what they ARE, every time he meets with them. (with expletives) I WANT a Governor who gets PISSED OFF. The really scary thing is.......he says exactly what he is going to do. OH NO, you mean, no hopy changy stuff?, no great gusts of warm wind? No hyperbole?
Ya know, I WAS undecided on who I was going to vote for. Libby, is a great Lady and deserves recognition for her service, and I wanted to give her a fair hearing, until , I saw her current ads. And, her undeniable, favorable, LANGUAGE written about her in the PRESS. Emphasis, motivation, intent, is the bedrock to writing. In order to win, she needs to bring Paul DOWN, thats the intent. No ideas, no challenge of ideas, lets just badmouth Paul and sic the reporters on him about the conspiracy of....$191.00. Yeah, it'll work.
Because I work, and I do. The state and federal gov't's look at me as a piggy bank in service to professional victims. I'm getting tired of Maine anf the Feds pilfering my money.

Chris Blake's picture

Funny

I felt that way about 99% of the ignorant comments on this article.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Folks, LePage want to run Maine like DeCoster runs his egg farms

What did you expect. By his wife claiming Florida rsidency, Paul LePage saved himself at least $64,000. And this story is less than a week old. Appears that LePage dodged the draft by fleeing to Canada in 1972. How much more is there.
His anger is because he knows the truth and we don't and he is afraid of the truth.
He should but won't withdraw from the race.
You see he is a typical Tea Partier - white, wealthy, ignorant, and doesn't want to be educated on how the rest of us live.

Audrey Alcala's picture

Politics are

Politics are dirty......period!! It's so hard to know who to trust when it comes to voting time. I don't care if Joe schmoe smoked a joint 20 yrs ago.....that doesn't make he/she incapable of making a logical decision now!! It also doesn't make he/she any less of an intelligent human being! But the fact that Mr. LePage lost his cool and stormed off was not impressive. Yes.....it has got to be frustrating with all these stupid questions, BUT, if he wants to run our State, then he needs to have all the patience and tolerance in the world! If he's in the midst of a big meeting and loses his cool, will it be okay to just "walk out" of the meeting because it upset him? Will it be okay if he gets angry and voices his anger? Being human nature won't be acceptable once you're Govenor! Unless he's hiding something, he should be able to just answer the questions and move on. He seems to want to simply avoid the answers.

 's picture

What was the very first thing

What was the very first thing and last thing in this article:
Talking about how the press like to make big things out of nothing. This story seems to be a fair look at this "issue". Stop acting like everyone but Rush and Beck are trying to get you.

 's picture

The SJ is NOT making LePage look bad

he's doing that all by himself. If he had just come clean in the beginning, it would be all over. But no, he had to try and hide facts, and got angry when reporters discovered his deceptions. Is this really the type of person you want to lead this state? If so, you must really hate this state.

 's picture

Wonder what his reaction will be once the

questioning come around to his sex life. It's fair game, ever since his backers attempted to oust a President for having a BJ. He and his wife are separated, he has all those multitude of Marden beauties at his disposal, we all know where this is leading. His does seem to spend an inordinate amount of time at his 'office.' Let the questions begin, and let's hope he's truthful about what happened.

 's picture

Neither was Bill Clinton's, however

the right wing wacko teabagger types wanted to throw him out of office because of it. Turn about is fair play.

Ray St. Onge's picture

What was in the Articles of Impeachment?

Tron, what did the Articles of Impeachment against President Clinton say? Were the charges that he had inappropriate relations or were the charges about perjury. If you take the time and look, you will see that they were the latter.

 's picture

If YOU remember, haha, the whole case

was the republicans striving to pry into the sex life of the President of the United States. It was the classic case of a witch-hunt. Use the canard about perjury all you want, the republicans had no business asking private question about anyone, much less the President of the United State. Honestly you people have absolutely no scruples. If questions about sex were pertinent for the President of the Untied States, then they are DEFINITELY pertinent for the manager of Marden's!

Ray St. Onge's picture

Nice spin

Tron, nice spin but pardon the pun, close but no cigar. President Clinton was being sued in civil court and perjured himself. The question did not start from the Republicans, but from the civil trial. He committed perjury in his grand jury testimony. Last I checked, that is suppose to be non-partisan. Besides, we all know that he committed perjury, he was disbarred by the Arkansas Board for a number of years.

An yes, the President's personal life is everyone's business when it comes to national security. What if Monica had been a spy, she could have then tried to bribe him for information to keep it from going public. Look at Gov. Patterson, he came clean about an affair to make sure that it could not be used against him, politically or otherwise.

RONALD RIML's picture

The Civil Trial spearheaded by Republican Activist Agitator

Susan Carpenter-McMillan. It WAS all about Politics, and Ball-Busting.

 's picture

If that's the case, then why is LePage immune

from the same scrutiny? Unless he's committing a crime, and President Clinton was not, his adultery was none of your business. Nor Congress.

Ray St. Onge's picture

Not the same thing

President Clinton was charged with a crime. His adultery became our business when he LIED. Understand he LIED to a grand jury, that is where the problem comes in. So far, Mr. LePage is not being investigated by a grand jury and if he perjures himself then, yes he deserves the same scrutiny. The problem you have here is President Clinton's adultery could have been a risk to national security, Mr. LePage's error in filing his taxes is not putting the country at risk. Monica could have bribed him for national secrets. Nothing was at risk with Mr. LePage's "filing error", deliberate or not.

By the way, why was President Clinton disbarred? It wasn't for not paying his dues.

 's picture

Seriously?

Haven't the Dems been in control in Maine for like 30 years? What have they done for us? Also if you knew history then you would realize it was the Dems that voted against civil rights back in the day...

Spineless, ignorant libs... Vote em all out!

RONALD RIML's picture

And all those old Southern Dems are the New Republicans

And all those old Southern Dems are the New Republicans - which you would realize had you really actually been aware of history there, Lad.

Tony Morin's picture

Dinosaurs

I hope nobody ever asks him about ancient earth. The T-Rex**** will really hit the fan then.

RONALD RIML's picture

You didn't notice the economy was crippled before Obama??

And the future savings of the American children have long been spent by the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II Tax Cuts - along with those unfunded Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have been put on the Red Chinese Credit Card there, Français.

Doreen Sheive's picture

Personality and character

LePage has had an easy political career. As Mayor of the City of Waterville with absolutely no authority, he was always in the news telling everyone which he thought should be voted in or out. The City Council never reputed what he said because they knew they were in control. The Council was responsible for how the City of Waterville was run, not Paul LePage. And, it is pretty clear by now that Paul LePage really doesn't have a clue as to how the City of Waterville operates. And, worse yet, he doesn't know the purpose of the individual departments of state government, and he doesn't care to learn. He just speaks off the top of his head -- making cute little comments and phrases which have no substance.

RONALD RIML's picture

Sure it's a Backbone? Or a stick up his azz.......

Sure it's a Backbone? Or a stick up his azz.......

RAYMOND FRECHETTE's picture

Mr. Lepage did show

Mr. Lepage did show impatience with the reporters, but who among us would not with the way reporters hound public people on every detail they can. A famous Democrat, the late President Truman, was known to occasionally speak his mind. This is not a detriment. Unfortunately American politics and the media have gotten meaner over the years to where many of us ignore or overlook these stories. Hound a person with the same miserable questions, after they have been answered once, and eventually they will lash at you. This is human nature. To all of you who want to paint Mr. Lepage and the Republican party badly, just think back a few months and remember how many "good" Democrats that Mr. Obama had difficulties appointing to various offices because they conveniently forgot to pay taxes.

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