Maine Gov. Paul LePage is under fire after he reportedly told a group of Republicans that President Barack Obama "hates white people."
"I never said that. And you guys are all about gossip," he told reporters outside the Maine State House in Augusta. His comments were recorded by CNN affiliate WCSH
The incendiary quip was allegedly made during an Aug. 12 fundraiser at a private home in Belgrade attended by GOP lawmakers and supporters, sources told the Portland Press Herald
and the Bangor Daily News
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"It was a typical, off the cuff, off the script, Paul LePage comment," one unnamed source told the News.
The comment by the governor who is running for re-election, came as he took shots at the Affordable Care Act, according to the source.
The News reported that one high-profile Republican, former 1st District congressional candidate Dean Scontras, called on LePage to resign.
Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant told the News: "It’s time for [other Republicans] to stand up and say, ‘This is not who we are.’ I think it would be great to see that from the GOP."
Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett told the newspaper he had not heard the "white people" joke, and insisted, "The governor is not a racist . . . I’ve never heard him say anything racist."
Other attendees also denied hearing the statement.
But two Republican lawmakers told the Press Herald that LePage stated at the fundraiser that Obama could have been the best president ever if he had highlighted his biracial heritage — but that he hasn't done that because he hates white people.
"Yeah, he said it," one of the lawmakers told the Press Herald. "It was one little thing from a speech, but I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate."
The fundraiser wasn't the first time that LePage's off-the-cuff remarks have caused him trouble.
During a disagreement with the Maine NAACP in 2011, he said, "tell them to kiss my butt." And he once compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo.
Two months ago, he also slammed Maine Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, saying that Democrat Jackson would be "the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline
And earlier this month, while sitting in a fighter jet simulator, LePage — who has had a contentious relationship with the media — remarked that he wanted to find the Portland Press Herald building and "blow it up."
LePage’s office has so far not responded to calls for comment by the newspapers.
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