AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The often-brash governor of Maine used crude language Thursday to express his frustration over the state budget, targeting a Democratic opponent with a sexually vulgar phrase to describe how he believes he is taking advantage of the people.
Gov. Paul LePage made the remark about Sen. Troy Jackson to journalists from two television stations and one newspaper Thursday.
His comments were targeted at Jackson, the assistant Democratic leader, who criticized the governor's veto announcement and call for 60-day reprieve to negotiate a new budget as a political stunt. Jackson said that the Legislature had enough votes to override the veto and that there was no need for lawmakers to negotiate with LePage.
LePage said Jackson "claims to be for the people, but he's the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline."
He later added: "Dammit, that comment is not politically correct, but we got to understand who this man is.
"This man is a bad person," LePage continued. "He doesn't only have no brains. He has a black heart and so does the leadership upstairs."
WMTW reporter Paul Merrill told him others might find the Vaseline remark offensive.
"Good," LePage replied. "It ought to, because I've been taking it for two years."
Democrats called the governor's words disrespectful and a failure of leadership.
Sen. Seth Goodall, Democratic leader, said there should be no room for personal attacks and insults on someone's character in Maine government.
"Language like this is offensive, no matter who says it. We expect more in our schools. We expect more at home around our kitchen table. And surely we expect more from our governor."