AUGUSTA— Maine Gov. Paul LePage had an interesting interaction with a blogger outside his office Thursday.
And there’s video.
A 20-second clip posted on Facebook by WMTW-TV reporter Jim Keithley shows LePage speaking to a group of media members. In the front is Carol McCracken, of Portland, who writes a blog called Munjoy Hill News.
McCracken points a small camera at the governor from a few feet away. As she films, she chews with her mouth open, and it’s full of food.
“Do you mind? Do you mind moving, please?” LePage says. He then takes both hands and gently pushes McCracken back.
She replies, “Don’t push me, please.”
LePage then says, “You’re eating in my face,” and wipes his cheek before turning and walking away.
“You’re the rude one, not me,” McCracken said.
LePage then continues to walk away, out of the State House.
“I don’t need your lunch,” he says over his shoulder.
Asked to comment Friday about the interaction, LePage’s spokeswoman, Julie Rabinowitz, said McCracken “very aggressively pushed her way into the Governor’s personal space, took several flash photos just inches from his eyes.”
“She was taking advantage of the buffet in the Hall of Flags, which was intended for legislators, and was chewing with an open mouth. Chicken salad flew from her mouth, spraying the Governor with bits of food,” Rabinowitz wrote in an email. “After she bombarded the Governor with flying bits of her sandwich, she spoke very rudely and aggressively to his staff. So a security officer came to talk to her, and she was still eating the sandwich, and food from her mouth flew onto the officer as well.
“It was an awkward and uncomfortable position for the Governor to be in while he was giving an on-camera interview with reporters. No harm was intended.”
Reporters were waiting outside the governor’s office to ask him about a decision by a Superior Court judge that LePage was wrong to close a prison in Washington County.
McCracken wrote about the encounter on her blog and characterized LePage’s actions as a “shove” that caused her to lose her balance. Other reporters who were there disputed that characterization.
She also referred to herself as “just an easy target for this bully.”