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. Matthew

    So the story here is that a guy says that he didn't say something about somebody that two newspapers say that someone – an anonymous someone – says he said...... Are we in kindergarten? Is this news?

    August 20, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Tony in Maine

    Every time he makes spews anything that could be construed as racist, one of his sycophants trots out a family connection to a Jamaican he adopted.

    With LePage's history of blatting whatever nonsense comes into his mind, I would put money on the story being true. It was put out by two REPUBLICAN lawmakers. They weren't Democrats or Independents or Greens – they were Republicans and that means conservative in bold type in Maine.

    August 20, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. gezuscyrst

    Thanks for telling us how you feel about the President, Republicans! Guess we have the true evidence of who's been playing the race card for this long.

    August 20, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. gezuscyrst

    Race card issued. Mr. President rejected it.

    August 20, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. ShawnDH

    Paul LePage is a total embarrassment to us in Maine!

    August 20, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. onlysane1intheroom

    LePage is exactly right, but could have also added that Obama hates "middle class working people."

    August 20, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Roscoe

    I like this guy already. Especially the Vaseline comment. Forget being a mush-mouthed politician, tell it like it is. He's got my vote.

    August 20, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. SammFan

    I can't believe waded into this local yocal swamp. Buddies with the Billionaire Dem newspaper owner?

    August 20, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Jim

    Before everyone black and white turns this into a race fight, let's read the content of this article carefully.

    How has nobody picked up on the conflicting statements he allegedly made.

    "Hates White People"
    "Obama would be the best president ever if he would highlight his biracial heritage"

    These seem like wildly opposing views of the man.

    The "source" reporting by both papers is awful at best and should not be trusted.

    LePage does say incredibly stupid things from time to time. That is a fact. As a republican, he can be embarrassing.

    I don't agree with Obama and certainly didn't vote for him, but he is my President.

    I am ashamed of the blatant racism that had surfaced in the last few months. Whites, Blacks, Hispanics should all be ashamed.

    How about trying to be constructive instead of destructive?

    Civility. What a novel concept.

    August 20, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. D Fisher

    The best strategy for the Democrats in 2016 is to just let the Republicans talk – it won't take long for some conservative to say something idiotic and stick their foot in their mouth.

    August 20, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    he does

    August 20, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. John Illinois

    But, it sure seems like Obama does and so does Holder!

    August 20, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. ally buster

    -The great part about republicans/conservatives in general is that they are "self correcting".

    That is, they get into office then say and do things utterly stupid and wind up thrown out in the next election.

    August 20, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Nona Barton

    Yep, he hit the nail on the head! And yet this man still gets called a racist for saying this terd is a racist. WOW! Show me the proof that Obozo ISN"T racist!

    August 20, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Irish Seanachie from Maine

    Jakker's Lads don't pay any attention to the "Big Head" talking; watch the fella behind the curtain ! Can't blame our problems on Conservatives or Liberals, the issue is our own laziness and greed that we can't get beyond to find the needed solutions. Our problems are seen in a mirror and likewise so our our solutions. Don't continue to abdicate to the "fella's behind the curtain. Slainte !

    August 20, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Mike S

    I think the Governor is just stating a sentiment that is very obvious to a lot of people.
    The press should be analyzing the actions of the president that have led to this belief instead of chastising the governor.

    August 20, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Tdog

    Obama could be doing so much to help the cause of bi-racials and blacks but he prefers to spend his efforts on the GBLT crowd and illegals

    August 20, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. poindexter

    WELP, if he don't have ballz to say it...I AM...elect me as ur next governor...throw out this italian spagetti nozed job!

    August 20, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Dulouz

    Barack Obama hates white people.

    August 20, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC


    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"
    Unfortunately, the social standard that says anyone of mixed race background, black and white, is black was established long before any of us were born. It's not the president's responsibliity to overturn public opinion on race relations, although I'm sure he hopes that he could.

    August 20, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. luke,az

    People like him are becoming extinct. The republican party's mascot should be the mastodon instead of the elephant.

    August 20, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. Laverne

    @Mike: Actually he can have it both ways, he is BI-RACIAL!

    August 20, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz aka Take Back The House

    Sounds as if the governor listens to Glen Beck.

    August 20, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    The more GOPers open their mouth the more it shows their grey matter is eroded to the point of one brain cell in their respective skulls.
    They all are fastly regressign to "AMOEBA"

    August 20, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. Ed Carter

    Often when people accuse others of racism, it can be in an effort to fuel the flames of racism themselves. Watch how they say it to see.

    August 20, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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