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. Demigod Vadik, CA

    These fat old white racists really have to go...

    ...enough is enough...

    ...this guy isn't some doped out rapper making a comment like this, this guy is a Governor of a S state...

    ...enough is enough...remove him from office...

    August 20, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. NKBL

    Are you sure Devon wasn't the gardener?

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

    What is it about Republicans and what they talk about at fundraisers? They talk about things they know won't fly with the majority of Americans, but the right wing fanatics will lap it up.

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

    Lepage never said that, negitave feeling does not translate into hate. The reporters should be held liable for the suffering everyone is going.

    August 20, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. zzzzzz

    Genetic make up? Other than Jim Crow, when in the history of the US has anyone concerned themselves with the racial composition of a black man? Here...let's make this easy. If Obama was arrested what do you think his race would be listed as? Biracial? LOL! Give me a break.

    August 20, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Johnny 5

    Obama hates black people as well. Just look at the rise in black unemployment since he's been in office. I'm a white guy and even i've noticed this fact. As soon as the complaints rise up again, he throws more food stamps for a temporary fix.

    August 20, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. paulbark

    In public, the GOP likes to sound kind to all. Get them behind closed doors, looking for the money, and they start spouting all their hateful stuff, which appeals to the far right fanatics.

    August 20, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. whitepine

    I live in the South and racism is very much alive and used to bring all this hate and divide to this country, Obama is not the problem but the citizens of this country. Quit blaming Obama and the fed for all your problems. Tell the people in your state to quite wasting federal money. If you have a community problem, then let your community solve the problem. Let's quit the blame game and being lazy. Fix your own problems.

    August 20, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Mark

    Obama is the biggest racist and has done more to drive a wedge between the races.

    August 20, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "The press should be analyzing the actions of the president that have led to this belief instead of chastising the governor."

    The actions of the POTUS that led to this belief: being born half black and getting elected POTUS. Period. That's all it took to kick white race fears and resentment into high gear in this country. LePage just let fly with the supposed-to-be-unstated feelings that are driving so much of the white conservative rural freakout in this country. Obama's election and demographic shifts represent the beginning of the end of the white stranglehold on positions of power in this country, and they desperately fear retaliation from the minority community for all the racist and discriminatory crap they and their forefathers pulled over the past couple centuries. It's that simple. LePage and his ilk see a black POTUS who "hates white people," because they are projecting their own racism onto him along with their fears that he will act on it JUST LIKE THEY WOULD AND HAVE.

    August 20, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. DC

    But Obama does hate whites...anyone that supports affirmative action hates whites

    August 20, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. coyoteliberty

    Manufactured outrage. I live in Maine and the same people who are hollering at the top of their lings about this are the self same people who parroted and applauded as so on point and clever Kanye West's "George Bush hates White people" line after Hurricane Katrina.


    August 20, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. gezuscyrst

    So adopting a black child eliminates you from being a racist? So, let me understand, if it were a man adopting a child or having a child, could he not be a pedophile?

    August 20, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. larry bud

    how do idiots like obama get elected?

    August 20, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. Marcus

    Nona Barton – If I am not mistaken, and if I am somebofy please point it out to me, the burden of the proof lies on the accused ONLY in military trials. In all other trials the burden of the proof lies on the accuser.

    August 20, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. markfromdover

    How can you call him racist? He and his wife went out and got one of them there Jamaicans!

    August 20, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. Miss Macy

    President Obama's so-called "hatred of white people" would certainly be quite a surprise to his white mother and grandmother, rest their souls.

    August 20, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Tenie

    I think because obama looks more black then white he hates that it is the white side who gave him everything, and the black one that abandoned him.

    August 20, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Searcher

    Another wonderfully TONE-DEAF Republican. I wonder if the people of Maine will re-elect this vitriolic man?

    August 20, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. mick

    Keep it up Mr. Governor. Hillary needs your support

    August 20, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. Madeline

    Obama willingly spent twenty years sitting under and listening to his pastor Sunday after Sunday, and that pastor did not preach the gospel but rather, hatred and violence against white people, whom he describeda as devils. If Obama didn't accept and agree with this, he would have left after the first week. He would not have listened for twenty years. But our athiestic, pagonistic media wouldn't cover that... oh no. They are pagon beasts of the worst sort.

    August 20, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Wake up People!


    I couldn't agree more. Yahoo did a study of the 10 most racist states in America and plenty were in the north. My home state of MI ranked 5th I think. There is so much racism here that it's pathetic. Google Howell, MI. They were actually in the news a few years back for a store that sold authentic klan attire. Go to the news site and read ANY article that has anything to do with anyone black, the comments are so over the top it's pathetic. But check the articles about whites, nothing even resembling the ones about blacks.

    I don't know how many times I have been victimized by racists calling me names, telling me to get out their neighborhood, ignoring me in the jewelry store and waiting on people that came in way after myself.

    August 20, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I the only thing this racists gov............and manyl like him is sorry about is that the are caught . imagine this statement is on tape and this white racists man is sill denying it. hahahah

    August 20, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Mark in Seattle

    I would very much love to visit Maine again. Be a little worried though with this nut job on the streets.

    August 20, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. Just the facts

    Why isn't CNN reporting that 3 black teenagers shot a white teenager in the back for fun, but they have the space to race bait with this story? Liberals don't like the truth. The truth is that Trayvon was a thug just like these three, and CNN just can't stand it.

    August 20, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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