Gov: I Meant 'Maine Girls,' Not 'White Girls'
LePage tries to walk back drug dealer remarks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2016 9:48 AM CST
Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a news conference at the State House, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Augusta, Maine.    (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he is being labeled a racist because of a "one word slip-up" during remarks on the state's drug problem. He insists that he hadn't intended for there to be a racial element to his claim that out-of-state drug dealers called "D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty" are coming to Maine to sell heroin and impregnate "young white girls," the Portland Press-Herald reports. "Instead of saying Maine women, I said white women," LePage told reporters at a Friday press conference. "I'm not going to apologize to the Maine women for that because if you go to Maine, you will see we are 95% white." He went on to slam the media, accusing them of being in the "back pocket of Maine bloggers," CNN reports.

The Republican governor said he probably could have used many other words in a better way, the New York Times reports. "That's who I am. You can take the kid off the street, but you can’t take the street out of the kid." The Times notes that LePage often uses his life story to defend himself, and it's certainly a doozy: LePage, the oldest of 18 children, ran away from his abusive father at 11 and lived on the streets before eventually making it into college and having a successful business career. After the Friday conference, the chairman of the Maine Republican Party said the governor was right to "apologize for his ill-chosen words," the Press-Herald reports—though critics said it didn't seem like much of an apology.