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UPDATE: Maine Governor Apologizes For Racist Drug Dealer Remarks
POSTED BY WLAS January 9th, 2016 0 COMMENTS

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Updated January 8th at 10:37am CST

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage on Friday apologized for his remark about out-of-state drug dealers impregnating “young white” girls, calling it a slip of the tongue and saying he didn’t mean to inject race into discussion of Maine’s heroin epidemic.

The Republican governor also blamed reporters for unfairly focusing on the slip-up in which he described the drug dealers as “guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” and added “half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.”

“I was going impromptu, and my brain didn’t catch up to my mouth. Instead of ‘Maine women,’ I said ‘white women,’” LePage said, noting that Maine is among the nation’s whitest states.

He also chastised the assembled reporters, saying, “Get your heads out of the sand, please.” He added: “I probably couldn’t get so many of you here without saying something foolish.”

The governor’s comment Wednesday evening in Bridgton drew criticism from Maine and beyond after a Republican activist called attention to it a day later. LePage, who’s white, didn’t describe the races of the drug dealers, and his spokesman said Thursday that he wasn’t making a comment about race.

State Senate Democratic leader Justin Alfond, a frequent critic of LePage’s, said the governor’s comments were at best “careless or poorly stated.” The president of the NAACP’s Bangor chapter, Michael Alpert, called the remarks “sad” and “foolish.”

LePage is known for speaking his mind, and it sometimes gets him into trouble.

He said on the campaign trail that he’d tell President Barack Obama to “go to hell,” and soon after he was elected to his first term, he told the Portland chapter of the NAACP to “kiss my butt.” He previously likened the IRS to the Gestapo, called protesters “idiots” and said a political foe liked to “give it to the people without Vaseline.”

LePage said Friday that his “kiss my butt” remark was mischaracterized. He also said he’s passionate about addressing the state’s drug problem. Maine was on pace for a record year for drug overdose deaths in 2015; the final figures have not yet been tallied.

“I made a mistake and I’m not perfect, but I will not stop correcting myself and bringing the issue at hand: drugs, drugs and more drugs. Beatings, beatings and more beatings. We have people dying. We have families being destroyed,” he said.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Blunt-spoken Republican Gov. Paul LePage said out-of-state drug dealers are impregnating “young white” girls, and his remarks were quickly denounced by critics on Thursday as racial fearmongering.

LePage, talking about Maine’s heroin epidemic, described out-of-state drug dealers as “guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” and said “half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.”

LePage, who’s white, didn’t describe the races of the drug dealers on Wednesday during a town meeting in Bridgton, and a spokesman said Thursday he wasn’t making a comment about race.

But moderate Republican and LePage critic Lance Dutson, who called attention to the remark, said the governor was playing to people’s racial fears.

“This is one of the most blatantly racist statements he’s ever made,” said Dutson, a former CEO of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center who helped create the GOP group Get Right Maine to combat extremism. “One of the things that’s offensive about it is that it’s reminiscent of this fearmongering in American history that people would like to think is long gone.”

The president of the NAACP’s Bangor chapter, Michael Alpert, said the governor’s comments were “sad” and “foolish.”

LePage’s chief of communications, Peter Steele, insisted the governor wasn’t talking about race when he made the comment.

“Race is irrelevant,” Steele said via email. “What is relevant is the cost to state taxpayers for welfare and the emotional costs for these kids who are born as a result of involvement with drug traffickers. His heart goes out to these kids because he had a difficult childhood, too. We need to stop the drug traffickers from coming into our state.”

LePage is known for speaking his mind, and it sometimes gets him into trouble. He said on the campaign trail that he’d tell President Barack Obama to “go to hell,” and then soon after he was elected to his first term he told the Portland chapter of the NAACP to “kiss my butt.”

He previously likened the IRS to the Gestapo, called protesters “idiots” and said a political foe liked to “give it to the people without Vaseline.”

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