August 20th, 2013
01:40 PM ET
9 years ago

Maine governor denies saying Obama 'hates white people'

(CNN) - Gov. Paul LePage, known for making controversial comments, reportedly said President Barack Obama "hates white people," according to two Maine newspapers citing unnamed sources.

"I never said that. And you guys are all about gossip," he told reporters as he walked out of the Maine State House in Augusta. His comments were recorded by CNN affiliate WCSH.

The Portland Press Herald reported late Monday night that two state lawmakers said LePage, a Republican, made the comment at a Maine GOP fundraiser on August 12.

The Bangor Daily News also reported that LePage made the comment, citing an unnamed attendee.

The Portland Press Herald wrote that LePage argued Obama would be the best president ever if he would highlight his biracial heritage, but he doesn't do so because of his negative feelings towards white people.

The governor's office and the state Republican Party declined to answer questions from CNN about the incident. And a senior political adviser to LePage refused to even speak to the issue, but sent a prepared statement criticizing the Press Herald and noting that the governor had raised a Jamaican teenager.

"It seems farfetched for anyone, even a newspaper, to make an insinuation the Governor is racist given his life history," said Brent Littlefield, LePage's political adviser. "He and his family made a choice and sacrifice when they offered Devon the opportunity to join their family many years ago. Paul and Ann call him their son. Paul LePage recognized many people helped him make it out of poverty and he has been determined to help others succeed."

LePage took in Devon Raymond Jr., in August 2002 to live with his family. LePage refers to him as his son, though they did not formally adopt him.

Lisa Fortier, who hosted the fundraiser with her husband, told CNN: "I never heard it. I never heard anybody mention it."

LePage's reported comment about Obama marks the latest in a string of off-color remarks by the first-term governor, who plans to run for re-election next year. Earlier this month, LePage joked that he wanted to blow up the headquarters of the Press Herald.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, the paper's majority owner is Donald Sussman, a billionaire manager of boutique hedge funds and a major political donor to Democratic super PACs in 2012, as well as other Democratic campaigns over the years. Sussman is married to Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.

Just a few weeks ago, sitting in a flight simulator, LePage was asked where he wanted to fly to.

"I want to find the Portland Press Herald building and blow it up," he replied, according to video posted on the website of the Daily News.

Later, LePage explained on Twitter he was making a joke.

The governor also caused a stir in June when he made a crude sexual reference to describe a Democratic state lawmaker.

"Sen. Jackson claims to be for the people but he's the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline," LePage told the television station WMTW, referring to state Sen. Troy Jackson.

And last year, he apologized for referring to the Internal Revenue Service as the "Gestapo" in his weekly radio address.

"It was not my intent to insult anyone, especially the Jewish Community, or minimize the fact that millions of people were murdered," the governor said in a statement.

LePage was elected in 2010, after first winning a crowded GOP primary, then narrowly winning the general election with 38% of the vote. In addition to the Democratic candidate, LePage also ran against two independents. The three candidates caused a wide split in his opposition.

- CNN's Ashley Killough and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.


Filed under: Maine • Paul LePage • President Obama
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. ????

    "Gov. Paul LePage, known for making controversial comments, reportedly said President Barack Obama "hates white people," according to two Maine newspapers citing unnamed sources."

    He should have also included Eric Holder in that sentence.

    August 20, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    LePage was elected in 2010, after first winning a crowded GOP primary, then narrowly winning the general election with 38% of the vote. In addition to the Democratic candidate, LePage also ran against two independents. The three candidates caused a wide split in his opposition.

    Has there been a polling update on this man since 2010? He has to be an embarrassment of the highest order for the good people of Maine to put up with on what amounts to be an almost daily basis of stupidity.

    August 20, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Drew

    Faulty reasoning at best. Typical GOP conservative negative-speak. Obama speaks of his biracial status often, even though the GOP TP will only speak of him as black. Shameful.

    August 20, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Taroya

    WHY are these people still voted for at all, much less voted into office? HOW did any of them learn to breathe?

    August 20, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. HenryMiller

    Why did he apologise for referring to the IRS as the Gestapo? They're very similar organisations, differing only in a matter of degree.

    August 20, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. the hippies were right

    I don't think Obama hates white people. He probably hates stupid racist white people. In other words he hates the GOP.

    August 20, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. mb2010a

    I really don't think he needs to bother with running for office again...

    August 20, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. fayray11x

    same old same old GOPtard

    August 20, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Where is the evidence that he hates white people? Where is the specific evidence that he has said that? Only in the fevered minds of such idiot savants (joke) as Glen Beck( bigger joke) is he a racist. The problem is that this accusation is a convenient way for the Right to avoid dealing with their own history of racism and their continued sheltering of people like the so-called " Southern Avenger".

    August 20, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Mainer

    To be completely honest, I don't mind the comments as much as many others, though he should know that being an elected official representing the entire state of Maine, comments like this will get him into hot water.

    I'm more concerned with the fact that less than 60% of the state voted for him and he was elected. We need a runoff.

    August 20, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. OMG

    Maine (as well as all of New England) has already embarassed itself to the highest degreee by voting for Obama in 2012. I hope all of you blind faith liberal nuts enjoy taking care of your grandkids as they go into adulthood without jobs or hope for an enjoyable future.

    Not one person who writes here in a non-racist of one degree or another. To deny that is only lying to yourself.

    August 20, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. DarrellSF

    Lovely, isn't it?

    Millions of Whites held Blacks in slavery for hundreds of years, and one Black man takes to the Presidency of the United States, and suddenly Whites are victims.

    I am so disgusted with racism in this country. Obama is the President, MY President and YOUR President. It's high time he be treated with the respect of office, instead of all this racist BS people are throwing his way.

    Hate is so 50 years ago. LEAVE IT THERE!

    August 20, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. manu

    Hmmm last i knew obama claims to be black and not white. I do not think he eveer claims to be biracial. if he is so great as you liberals claim to be , should he rise above race and proclaim he is neither black nor white.

    "I choose not to self-identify"

    August 20, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. shawn

    That would mean Obama hates his own mother.

    August 20, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Bob

    Its a wonder that anyone can still understand what he is saying with all the feet in his mouth.

    August 20, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. bear

    There is a reason people refer to them as "Maniacs".

    August 20, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Jules

    This is why people can't trust anyone in the GOP. They have the most idiotic notions in their heads and if they don't have those notions, they use hate to try to generate votes.

    August 20, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. Rembrant

    It is getting to the point where every time a Republican speaks they aid Hillary in 2016.

    August 20, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. cnnife

    "It seems farfetched for anyone, even a newspaper, to make an insinuation the Governor is racist given his life history" Nobody is accusing him of racism. This article is just reporting what the governor said.

    August 20, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. general tso

    LePage is a breath of fresh air as well as a loose cannon. He is hurting no one other than possibly himself. Now we can all sit back and watch the name calling begin from both the Republicans and the Democrats... @drew has already started the game.

    August 20, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. sonny chapman

    To hate, you must be a hateful person. Obama is not a hateful person;now those who oppose him &have froth coming out of their mouths, that's a different story.

    August 20, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. leahcima1

    Who you going to believe, the Honorable Governor of the great state of Maine or your lying ears?

    August 20, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. JIMMYJOHNNYBOY

    What he meant to say is ' I didn't exactly say it like that'.

    August 20, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Mike

    Drew- Seriously? Mr. Obama has used his black "half" to get in sound bites about how it "could have been me", which tells everyone where he stands, which is he sees himself as black. That is fine, but this is also the same guy who told us how his grandparents were racist, and repeatedly sounds off of black issues, yet manages to not do the same for other races except when talking illegal immigration, which benefits his party stance. Just as Tiger Woods identifies himself as black, while really he is not even half black, Mr. Obama, while saying he is biracial, identifies himself as black, as do all black folks. Again, that is fine, but please don't try to sell Mr. Obama as acting biracial, he clearly identifies himself as black, and seizes EVERY opportunity to do so when it benefits his agenda. Again, no problem with him being black, but rather him using it as a political tool when it is convenient, and then shifting into being biracial when it is convenient. Can't have it both ways. That is shameful.

    August 20, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. Get It Together Already

    Stephen King for Governor!

    August 20, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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