The exchange between Joanne Twomey and Gov. Paul LePage starts about the 2:00 mark.

“It wasn’t the woman (who was out of control). It was the Maine People’s Alliance in the back who were getting out of control,” said LePage. “They’re the ones who were driving the show. The lady up front was not a big problem.”

The woman referenced by LePage is Joanne Twomey, a former Democratic state representative and Biddeford mayor who verbally confronted LePage Thursday night during a public forum in Saco.

Twomey tossed a jar of Vaseline on the stage as she was escorted out of the auditorium by LePage’s security detail. Maine’s Democratic and Republican parties both condemned Twomey’s actions shortly after the incident.

Asked whether the incident at Thursday’s forum, where LePage was advocating for his sweeping tax reform proposal, would prevent him from participating in more, LePage said it wouldn’t.

“Are you kidding me? No way man. I’m in,” said LePage. “In fact, this energizes me. Whether it’s civil or uncivil, it doesn’t make any difference. The fact of the matter is we’re a free country. … I’m not going to back down. I believe strongly that the Maine people should not have to pay an income tax.”

LePage made news at Thursday’s forum when he conceded that his proposal to let municipalities tax large nonprofit organizations won’t make it into law.

LePage said if the Maine People’s Alliance wants to discuss tax reform in public, he’d participate in a debate about it “so everyone can get both sides and we can have civil discourse.”

Mike Tipping, a spokesman for the Maine People’s Alliance who also writes a blog hosted by the Bangor Daily News, confirmed that the MPA has been organizing to bring people to LePage’s forums and said the group would “love to” debate LePage.

“It’s not surprising that Mainers are showing up at his town halls to express opposition, or that the governor would choose to lash out at MPA to distract the public from the details of his plan,” said Tipping in response to questions from the BDN.

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