August 20th, 2013
01:40 PM ET
10 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. Hogan's Goat

    Be fair; not all insane people are racists, too. He may just be sending messages to the saucer people with code words.

    August 20, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine


    Why did he apologise for referring to the IRS as the Gestapo? They're very similar organisations, differing only in a matter of degree.
    Because collecting revenue and torturing and killing people on the basis of racial purity is NOT a question of degree.

    August 20, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. PuzzledInPeoria

    "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.

    If one of us had said that in this climate, we'd be sitting behind bars right now.

    August 20, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Jojola

    So you want to throw Holder in the mix. Well, how about those tea baggers and house republicans? We all know how much love they have towards the president don't we? Get a clue and stop making stupid remarks about racism when anyone with half a brain can point to the real haters.

    August 20, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Bob 'rehoboth-beach foodie" Yesbek

    Well...the truth hurts.

    August 20, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. OrangePekoe

    Wow. The Maine governor is an idiot.

    August 20, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Laverne

    @manu: He refer to himself as black because that his how the world sees him when they look at him and that is why he is catching all the hell that he is because he is black. He could be the exact same president, making the exact same policies and most of the crap that has been thrown at him would not be so if the racist whites saw his skin color as theirs. To them, he is indifferrent and that's just the way it is, it's sad, but true!!

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

    Considering what the man HAS said it seems he doesn't think very much about it then apologizes for it. Typical. I don't care whether he said the President hates white people or not. He sounds like a loose cannon who doesn't think about what he says. A PR nightmare if you ask me.

    August 20, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Arun

    Jules stated it well. The GOP is a bunch of losers!!

    August 20, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Bill

    Keep up the GOP "rebranding" effort!! The GOP, a party without portfolio, ideas or direction. But we already knew that.

    August 20, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Dave

    I doubt there would any complaints when he referred to the IRS as the Gestapo!! LOL

    August 20, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Wake up People!

    Actually LePage President Obama has never been ashamed of his heritage. It was you and your ilk that constantly attacked him and his color. Remember put the white back in the White House?? What about constantly calling him a secret Muslim and a Kenyan? I have never, ever heard President Obama saying he hates white people, especially considering his mother and beloved grandparents were white.

    The racists were able to stay in the closet as long as we remained in our place, but the election in 2008 changed the game, and the bigots are losing their damn minds.

    August 20, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. Nick

    So here we have a newspaper owned by a big Democratic donor calling a Republican (who raised a Jamaican child) a racist with "unnamed sources". Can you say "typical liberal race baiting because facts are inconvenient"? Anyone who sides with people that choose to destroy others through such baseless claims do not deserve this country.

    August 20, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. lww

    Well first off...he is right...ovomit does hate whites and they hate him...

    August 20, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. bspurloc

    obviously he was 'joking' cuz u see the ignorant gop doesnt understand what being a racist even means. so they double down on stewpid

    August 20, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. us_1776

    This was reported on last week when it happened.

    Too many people heard you say it, LePage.


    August 20, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Chris

    Not sure if I would use the word "hate", but he sure does love to "take" from the taxpayers pockets (therefore, families) and give to black people in any way possible. His obamacare is being tapered off to be more specific for blacks with his $5000 credit for their use, his iPhones, his iPhone minutes, welfare up now to $524 BILLION per year! What a waste of taxpayer hard earned money that the rightful owners of that money could have used to send their own kids to college or give them an iPhone that was paid for by a family member. Yes, Obama "loves" blacks is the way I would state that he "hates" whites.

    August 20, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. More craziness

    All of a sudden the genetic makeup of a black man is so important. If Obama was arrested...check the FBI arrest stats, he would be called black. There is no column for biracial. All these black people who are imprisoned are now...biracial too? Really?
    So according to gov "foot in mouth", you're great dependent on genetic composition and not your actions?

    August 20, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. backwards

    I don't think the Governor is racist, for allegedly declaring the President is racist. That makes no sense. Since when does, accusing someone of racism, make the accuser racist? new age logic. The accusation maybe true, and if not it's a baseless accusation, and unwarranted. Doesn't mean the accuser is racist it means they are just wrong. I guess the governer just like Obama's parent is just another 'typical white person' to use Obama's terminology.

    August 20, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    He came into power supported by the Tea Party populist movement in 2010. What else do you expect?

    Can anyone name one elected official, who it also affiliated with the Tea Party, and is not a nut job? Hmm. Nahp.

    August 20, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Disgusted

    As a resident of Maine (who did not vote for this joke of a Governor), it's expected that 95% of what comes out of his mouth is embarrassing, rude and shameful. He is disrespectful to say the least. If he does, in fact, run for Governor again, I sincerely hope that the number of votes he gets compares in number to his amount of brain cells (and that is clearly a VERY low number). He may have some good ideas for cutting spending, etc in this state, but that will only be clouded by what an incompetent leader he truly is.

    August 20, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. shevai g

    This makes no sense. Why would Obama say he hates white people when he is half white?

    August 20, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. VEW2012

    It is getting to the point that most members of the GOP are just plain a whining drag on society as a whole, and an overload of right-wing misfits on the modern world. Who are the ignorant people who keep voting for them? They have nothing to offer but self-greed and hate.

    August 20, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. Would You Look at That

    Drew said:
    "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."

    Meanwhile, the blacks and the media will only acknowledge him as BLACK, not bi-racial. Hypocrite, much?

    August 20, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. Shameful

    Wasted time spent on this article, let's get back to business to more important issues!

    August 20, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9