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. Marcus

    OMG – nice, the racist calling other people racists because he/she disagrees with what he reads about someone he doesn't like wrote by the 'racists'.
    Problem is that you don't have FACTS, yes F-A-C-T-S, to back up your claim.
    Remember, 'facts, the stuff hated by Faux News because it debunks all their stories and opinions about the current POTUS.

    Shawn – Your forgot his grandfather and grandmother...

    August 20, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Ralph

    This Governor's a nut case, waiting for room to open up. It's funny when politicians get caught saying things they meant to be private. Non of them are the people they let us see.

    August 20, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Epidi

    Gawd the mudslinging never stops! I'm not Republican and even I can tell how bogus this is. I kind of like how he's down to earth & says what he thinks tho lol.

    August 20, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. G-man

    "They offered Devon the opportunity to join their family many years ago" = " They offered Devon a window into white privelege he could only peer through many years ago. Oh, and they fed him too!".

    August 20, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. jce3227

    Don't let the region of the country fool you, there are just as many racists up north as there are down south. I know a kid from Maine who's parents own a campground, that comes down to Florida every year, that literally is one of the top 5 most racist individuals I've ever heard. And I've heard a few, growing up in the south. And the Boston, MA area is probably only second to Mississippi as far as racism goes. Those people in that town will just outright use the N word right in the middle of town, and don't care who hears them. People always think all of the racists are down south, and there are a bunch, but just live in central Florida and North Florida when the northerners come down every year, and you will learn quickly there are actually more up there, by the numbers. And people always look at the gangs in Detroit and other cities, and say blacks are racist, and there sre many blacks taht are racist. But in the 40's, 50's, 60' s, and 70's Detroit was run by the mob, and their gangs were actually more brutal. When prohibition took place, it was a war zone up there in those cities up north, and it wasn't blacks acting that way, blacks were too afraid back then.

    August 20, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. chieftrainer

    "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."
    Obama from Dreams of My Fathers, "After all, there were thousands of so-called campus radicals, most of them white and tenured and happily tolerated. No, it remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names."
    That seems like Obama has negative feelings toward white people, so what's all the fuss against LePage?

    August 20, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |

    Yup, its obvious to me.

    August 20, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Bob

    How do these idiots get elected?

    August 20, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    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.
    The words [the presient hates white people] can be traced directly to Glenn Beck during a FNC interview, not too long before Fox announced they were giving Beck the boot. It is a phrase that Beck often repeated and discussed on his own media programs.

    August 20, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    He said it. Just like those posting here that agree with him. It was actually a Fox talking point for months.

    So now that a black family is in the WH, anyone that speaks about racism is racist? Even one with a white mother and grandparents that he adored.

    August 20, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Snarky MacFee

    How is this news when an unnamed attendee gives an account no one corroborates. I trust getting info from a game of Telephone with 6yr olds than from the current social media and insta-news. Sheesh. Sounds like the guy has alot of "wit" and not much judgement to me. So what if he said it? He obviously doesnt like poor people because no politician does...big whoop.

    August 20, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Richard B in your weird world people are racist unless they can prove otherwise? In that case you are a disease ridden streetwalker with a double digit IQ...please prove otherwise or we will assume this is correct.

    August 20, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. sandy

    Umm.... no one had to say it... just saying.

    August 20, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Whatever man...

    what a source of embarrassment he must be for some of the people of Maine (of course the rest elected him!)......

    August 20, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Larry in Houston

    I suspect that this is what the voters should expect, around this time....from now till never know what's going to come out of their mouths. They constantly hurt themselves, and their party.

    August 20, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Andy in Vic

    I have no idea at all of whether or not Lepage is racist (raising a Jamaican orphan does not preclude racism) but there seem to be plenty of examples of "brain in neutral, mouth in gear" syndrome. 38% of the popular vote and a crowded Republican primary suggests – loose cannon with a committed but minority base. and likely only one term in the gubernatorial mansion. They don't like to be embarrassed in Maine.

    August 20, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. texasnotea

    Another republican clown just clowning around. He subscribes to Playboy clown just for the articles. But the clown centerfold is stapled to his bathroom wall. Clown or no clown,that is the question.

    August 20, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. Mike

    he did not "adopt" the child he refers to as his son. States plainly and clearly in the story. This guy is an idiot. Everybody is wrong (aka lying) and he is the one telling the truth right ? Oh. Luv the wife. She did not hear it. Gee. I guess then that means he did not say it right again (?) LMAO

    August 20, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Hint: If you find yourself in a position where you're having to frantically deny you said some seriously racist sh-t about the POTUS, then people are already pretty sure you said it. And no, saying "but I was merely expressing what most white people are afraid of when it comes to demographic shifts," will not save you.

    This guy is an odious piece of filth and I hope someone comes out with a tape of him saying this so he can be destroyed. ME should be ashamed of itself.

    August 20, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Malory Archer

    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!


    The proof should come from the accuser, not the accused. Since you and crazy eyes lepage have accused the President of hating white people it's up to YOU to prove it.

    August 20, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. wm Scot

    When will it all stop ! These idiots and their ilk keep showing people in the world what a bunch of nut cases we are. Oh that is right we do not care what the rest of OUR world thinks, we are American !

    August 20, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. philojazz

    Okay, Governor LePage, how about this? IF someone comes forward with a video taken on his phone, that shows that you DID make the remarks, then you will resign, right? Not too much to ask, is it? We expect your answer forthcoming.

    August 20, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    This was confirmed by two REPUBLICAN lawmakers in Maine. He said it and he's now in damage control freakout mode.

    August 20, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. Ken in MD

    This guy has made some stupid statements and bad decisions in the past, but this one may put him over the edge. It's doubtful he'll get re-elected anyway. The election is still a year away, but he's behind in every poll.

    August 20, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. dikelmm1

    Is Maine still a state?

    August 20, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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