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Maine Governor Paul LePage insists his comments weren’t racist: ‘My brain was slower than my mouth’

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Outspoken Maine Governor Paul LePage on Friday responded to criticism that his comments about drug dealers flooding the state and impregnating “white girls” had a racist tone, blaming the media for taking his words out of context.

“My brain was slower than my mouth,” LePage, a Republican, told reporters at the state house in Augusta. “The take-away is this: I don’t really care what the press thinks about me. But I want the drug dealers to know: I’m after them.”

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Like many U.S. states, Maine is struggling with a surge in heroin addiction and overdoses and LePage has frequently suggested involving the state’s National Guard in the fight against drug dealers.

In discussing the problem at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, LePage said: “These aren’t the people who take drugs. These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty – these types of guys. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing.”

LePage insisted on Friday he had meant nothing by the “white girls” comment, adding, “Maine is essentially all white.” He said he had not known the race of the drug traffickers he was referring to, contending that the police reports he reads makes no mention of it.

Some 95 percent of Maine’s population is white, according to U.S. Census data, well above the 77 percent national average.

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LePage’s Wednesday comments were immediately criticized by Democrats in the state and elsewhere. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign described his words as “racist rants” in a statement to the New York Times.

“Governor LePage should be ashamed,” said Representative Mark Eves, the Democratic speaker of the state’s House of Representatives. “What a terrible example for our children.”

Democratic House Majority Leader Justin Alford called LePage’s comments “racially charged sound bites.”

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LePage’s comments came at a time of racial tension across the United States, with police killings of black men in cities including Ferguson, Missouri, New York and Baltimore inflaming the national debate on race and justice and sparking sometimes violent protests.

LePage has often come under attack for his blunt comments. He gained national notoriety early in his tenure after he ordered a mural honoring state workers removed, called climate change “a scam” and made a crude sexual remark about an opposition leader’s use of Vaseline.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Trott)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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If President Trump doesn't understand why a large majority of American Jews are Democrats, maybe he should take a look in the mirror.

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