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. olu

    For God sake, why would he 'hate' white people? When in fact he was raised by white...heck his mother is white. We need to focus on creating jobs and the welfare of people.

    August 20, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. California Gary

    Proceed Governor.........

    August 20, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. William Miller

    Having lived in Maine for 21 years, I'd be very surprised if this dope gets reelected. Though it's generally now a blue state, Maine is one of the very few states left that puts the person before the Party. He only got elected in the first place because of a badly divided opposition. Come next election, he'll almost certainly become unemployed.

    August 20, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. Douglas

    The GOP leaders seems to be competing to see who can come up with the dumbest most irresponsible quote. They aren't actually dumb, but they say these crazy things because their rank and file, I'm sorry to say, is running IQ scores that average in the double, not triple, digits. Finding a republican with an IQ over 100 is like finding a diamond in septic tank. They aren't mentally challenged, as you might at first believe from what they say and claim to think. They are just not gifted thinkers and they cater to less gifted thinkers.

    August 20, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Joe Shmoe

    They need to give this guy a medal! First politician to say it liek it is.....HIRED

    August 20, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. KWest

    So it's ok to say George W. Bush hates black people?

    August 20, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Larry Love

    In other news, people live in Maine

    August 20, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. mrl

    only apology i see he needed to do was to the gestapo... comparing our irs to them... that was quite an insult to the gestapo

    August 20, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Stoney

    Yes, he also should have included Holder, M. Obama, Jackson, and Sharpton.
    Now who is calling who racist???

    August 20, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. shawn2

    Yes shawn that is correct- that 'typical white person' – as the president refereed to her.

    August 20, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Peppey

    I thought the bammy pivot was on jobs ?? more distractions, when are people going to realize Obam is inept ???

    August 20, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Mark

    Can't wait for HILLARY – it will be 8 more years of BLISS

    August 20, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Sickofthehype

    Well... There was the case of the Harvard professor who was black. Before any facts were know Barry was quick to condemn the white officer. Then there was the Zimmerman trial. Whether I agree with the outcome or not, Barry wanted to judge before any facts came out. He does have a track record, liberals just choose to ignore it.

    August 20, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. knklhead

    It's hard for these politicians to run alongside hate wingnut radio because they feel that's the thought of the majority of people. Sad news, wingnuts ... there are more people that like Obama than hate him. Stop acting like children, targeting people that aren't "like" you and do something for this country.

    August 20, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. jim

    Poor Maine. This guy makes George Wallace look like JFK.

    August 20, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Big daddy

    Obama doesn't hate whites, he despises them. He hates that his mother is white. If you can't see that and his racist wife Michelle are really about, you are foolish.

    August 20, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. tom treadway

    Why backpeddle, truth should always be told, the dirt bag hates whites. That's ok, we hate him too.

    August 20, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. BostonBob

    There are a lot of people who believe the President does hate white people based on his actions. If the Governor said it so what?

    August 20, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. HeyRAE

    Lepage raised a black child. I certainly don't think he is racist, just incapable of speaking without making the entire State of Maine look ridiculous.

    August 20, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. Roger

    Common theme from the GOP, especially the TeaParty hatefuls. At least he did admit PBO is the best POTUS ever.

    August 20, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. Rick

    Mr obama does hate whites and the governor knows it. Just as moosele obama

    August 20, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. Guest

    Obama has spent 5 yrs stirring up racial hate in this country, beginning with the Beer Summit.

    August 20, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. Daniel

    I think Obama, Sharpton, Jackson and Oprah have made is very whose side they're on. But they're not being racist or anything, you know.

    August 20, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. Sid Prejean

    Two sure things about some Republicans
    1. Sure to make a stupid – frequently racially insensitive -comment.
    2. Sure to deny it afterwards, then blame the media. .

    August 20, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |

    Maine..We are talking about Maine...I thought they were territory in Quebec..if not for this article..we learn something new can one be racist in Maine..just some good ole boys huntin,fishin,playing a little hockey..ehhh

    August 20, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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