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. Langor

    He may not hate whites, but he seems to love blacks in an overt manner, something I find irritating for a President. I don't know how President Obama can claim to be a unifier, or even claim that he wants to be given his many comments and actions.

    August 20, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. longtooth

    LePage swept into office with a whopping 38% of the vote, and proceeded to act as if he had a landslide. He swaggers throughout a wonderful state dismissing environmentalists as if they are insane, when the state depends almost entirely on lumber and tourism. I'm lucky enough to own a piece of Maine, and I can't wait 'til he's tossed out of office, so the bears and the blueberries can stop worrying about being paved over for a mall parking lot.

    August 20, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    chieftrainer wrote on page 5:

    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?
    Actually, it sounds like Obama, who had lived with and around white people most of his young life, encountered "thousands of so-called campus radicals, most of them white," and came to the realization that divisive racial lines had already been drawn, long before he got there, and one had to choose a side. He choose the path of least resistance.

    August 20, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Thomas

    @larry bud
    how do idiots like obama get elected?

    I'm asking myself the same thing about Gov. Paul LePage . But then I think of those with no vision such as yourself.

    August 20, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Eric

    How is he racist for saying that someone else is racist? This is ridiculous. Remember when Kanye West got on live television and said George Bush doesn't care about black people? Did anyone call Kanye racist?

    August 20, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. ImVoting4Hillary

    He said it and now is trying to cover his tracks. The GOP is full of racists who only care for rich, white CONservative, men.

    August 20, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. George Brown

    Irresponsible of the newspapers to report such an inflammatory statement without proof, either a recording or on the record interviews. Completely irresponsible. Also irresponsible of CNN to spread the possibly false report. CNN should be better than Jezebel or The Daily Show.

    August 20, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. De Odorizer

    ..." LePage, a Republican..." Obama hates white people? Like his mother? Or his white grandparents he grew up with?
    LePage, a Republican... what a surprise. Next thing we know Obama will be accused of being "canadian".. ; -)

    August 20, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Boohincus

    It's all code. Say something gross and outrageous that makes tea-billy hearts race with joy, and then retract it in mock indignation. Disgusting, indeed.

    August 20, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Pander Bear

    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.


    But Madeline, I thought Obama was a Muslim. You really need to take your pills.

    August 20, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. roger

    With each new outrageous statement, the GOP shows it is so far out of touch and has become a party that voters like myself actually fear, These guys remind me of the old Kremlin types.....they are lost in time

    August 20, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. bcrunner

    Is anyone really surprised that he said it?? I am not... This guys shoots off his mouth all the time...

    August 20, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Langor

    Interesting that you can't use words referencing color when commenting on your story about color CNN.

    August 20, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. T

    .......Note to self:......................NO vacationing in Maine until THIS CRAZY is defeated..............

    August 20, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Oakspar77777

    Which mattes more, if LePage said it or not, or if it is true? I would like to see a journalist investigate the truth behind the claim before worrying about accusing someone of saying it. After all, if it is true, what is wrong with saying it?

    August 20, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Langor

    So exactly what can you say about this without it awaiting moderation? I'd like to know EXACTLY what I wrote that is inflammatory.

    August 20, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. vidal808

    Is it not funny that this idiot is Republican? He should be removed from office for being such a morone....but then again, the stupid people from Main voted for him. I wonder why the educated people don't go out voting but leave all the uneducated, red necks in charge? I always thought Main had a good education system but I guess I was wrong. Putting an idiot like this guy in office requires a great deal of stupidity......

    August 20, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. Brad

    Anyone who notices color of skin first needs to do some serious soul searching and realize that the FIRST thing you need to notice about someone is the color of the gun in their waistband, THEN notice the color of their skin.

    August 20, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. OhReally

    Republicans are the ones with racial issues and middle class issues. They tried really hard to get Obama to be a one term president. Why was that? They say it's because he will not work with them. Yet they have become focused on doing nothing even when he tries to work with them. They are doing more harm to us a nation than Obama is.

    August 20, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Mark of Tennessee

    These darn Republicans are a POS.... You lost get over it..... Hillary is next in for the President... LOL

    August 20, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. anonymous

    Obama doesn't hate white people. He just hates everything they represent. He thinks white people are the root of all the evils in the world. Obama is not just our first Black President, he is our first Black Racist President.

    August 20, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. sheppard

    johnny5 – doesn't matter what color you are – an idi0t is an idi0t and you win...

    August 20, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. oh really, give us a break

    Even if he didnt say it, it is true. Look at obamas record, always plays the race card, he did with the professor and the cop, he di with the zimmerman and martin case, he does with his dogs and he plays it with his politics. it is true, obama does not like any non-colored people, he especially does not like whites. obama wants to be king so he can look down on whites and thats the perfect image of a racists, so its pretty simple, its not rocket science, look at the facts and one can tell, obama is racist against whites, thats why we have so many problems, obama divides but he cannot conquer because whites, white native americans, white cubans and those white hispanics see his racism and the tide is turning.

    August 20, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. martiniano

    Another bloated white racist.

    And CNN, you wrote this:" And a senior political adviser to LePage refused to even speak to the issue". "To" the issue. You cannot speak to an issue because an issue cannot hear you – it is a concept not a physical object with ears. You can speak OF an issue or ABOUT an issue but not TO an issue.

    August 20, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. sib

    you people gripe me . you didnt read as usual the sheep following the flock . the news source that reported it is a democratic supporter . people you better open your eyes on both sides of the fence .

    August 20, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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