Christie Visit A Reminder Maine Can Do Better Than the Embarrassment of LePage
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Danny Kanner, DGA Communications Director
DATE: May 7, 2013
RE: Christie Visit A Reminder Maine Can Do Better Than the Embarrassment of LePage
Today, RGA Chair Christie will visit Maine to campaign for Governor Paul LePage. As if they didn’t suffer through it enough on a regular basis, Christie’s visit will remind Mainers that LePage is a reckless, divisive ideologue whose antics have made him a national embarrassment.
There’s no doubt – Chris Christie is one famous governor too. He’s made national headlines for berating teachers, veterans, and reporters. His administration’s abuse of power in the Bridgegate scandal has caught the attention of federal prosecutors, investigative committees, late night talk show hosts, and every news outlet in America. But that’s not exactly the kind of attention LePage needs.
LePage has done his best to one-up Christie. He’s compared the Affordable Care Act to the Holocaust and the IRS to the Gestapo, said he’d like to blow up Maine’s biggest newspaper, told the the NAACP to kiss his butt, and even claimed that President Obama hates white people.
Because of Christie’s visit, not in spite of it, Mainers today will be reminded that they can do better. They need a governor who will work in a civil way with Republicans and Democrats to get things done for the middle class. They need someone who will make them proud. That’s exactly what they’ll get in Mike Michaud.
For his entire career, Mike Michaud has fought for workers, veterans, seniors, and students. As governor, he’ll work across the aisle to expand access to health care, improve education, protect the environment, and strengthen the middle class.
LePage’s ideological rigidity, volatility, and divisiveness makes it impossible for him to deliver those kinds of results for Mainers. Fortunately, Chris Christie seems committed to reminding them of it.
Here’s the background on how LePage and Christie have been embarrassments to the people of their states:
2012: LePage Called the Maine Press Liars. LePage said, “The press. Reading newspapers in the state of Maine is like paying somebody to tell you lies,” in March 2012 to a student “who asked him what he didn’t like about his job during his appearance as keynote speaker at a Career Conversations event at Waterville Junior High School.” [Bangor Daily News, 3/30/13]
LePage Ordered Administration to not Talk to Maine Press. In June 2013 LePage ordered his administration to stop speaking to the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Waterville Sentinel. [Bangor Daily News, 3/30/13]
HEADLINE: “LePage Says He’d Like to Blow up Press Herald.” “Gov. Paul LePage made his dislike of the Portland Press Herald abundantly clear Friday while sitting in a fighter jet simulator: He said from the cockpit that he would like to blow up the newspaper’s building.” [Portland Press Herald, 8/9/13]
LePage Compared the Health Reform Law to Holocaust. In 2012 the New York Times noted that LePage “compared the health care reform law to the Holocaust,” yet “signed a budget bill in May that will reduce or eliminate existing Medicaid coverage for 21,000 people.” [New York Times, 7/18/12]
…By Likening the IRS to the Gestapo. “‘We the people have been told there is no choice,’ LePage said, referring to the individual mandate portion of the [health care reform] law. ‘You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS.’” [Bangor Daily News, 7/9/12]
LePage Said 47% of Able-Bodied Mainers “Don’t Work.” Bangor Daily News’ Mike Tipping reported on a recording of Governor LePage: “’About 47% of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don’t work,’ said LePage. On the recording you can hear a member of the audience ask ‘what?’ LePage repeats himself: ‘About 47%. It’s really bad.’” [Bangor Daily News Tipping Point Blog, 10/22/13]
LePage Supported 12 Year Olds Being Able to Work in Maine. The Portland Press reported, “Gov. Paul LePage told attendees of the 73rd annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show… that 12-year-olds should be allowed to work in Maine.” The Bangor Daily News reported that LePage said “I’m all for not allowing a 12-year-old to work 40 hours… But a 12-year-old working eight to 10 hours a week or a 14-year-old working 12 to 15 hours a week is not bad.” [Portland Press Herald, 1/8/14; Bangor Daily News, 12/2/13]
LePage Reported as Saying President Obama “Hates White People.” The Portland Press Herald reported, “Gov. Paul LePage told a group of Republicans last week that President Obama ‘hates white people,’ according to two state lawmakers who say they heard the remark directly. The governor made the comment during a Maine Republican Party fundraiser on Aug. 12… The lawmakers, both Republicans, confirmed the comment when asked by a Portland Press Herald reporter but asked that their names be withheld for fear of political retribution.” [Portland Press Herald,8/20/13]
LePage To NAACP: “Kiss My Butt.” LePage said “Tell them to kiss my butt,” in January 2011 “to reporters in response to suggestions from NAACP members and others that his decision not to attend ceremonies honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was part of a negative pattern.” [Bangor Daily News, 3/30/13]
LePage Accused Lawmaker of Giving “to the People Without Providing Vaseline.” The Bangor Daily News reported LePage “said a Democratic lawmaker, Sen. Troy Jackson of Aroostook County, ‘claims to be for the people but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.’ LePage also said that Jackson has a ‘black heart’ and that he should go back in the woods and cut trees ‘and let someone with a brain come down here and do some good work.’” [Bangor Daily News, 6/20/13]
LePage Called Independent Lawmakers “Idiots.” LePage said “You guys, you’re idiots and you’re just as bad if not worse than those other guys,” in January 2013 when “comparing independent lawmakers to Democrats during a meeting with three independent legislators on alternate approaches to balancing the state budget.” [Bangor Daily News, 3/30/13]
Gov. Chris Christie Called William Brown, A Former Navy SEAL, An ‘Idiot’ During A Town Hall, As He Was Being Escorted Out. ‘The most-heated town hall clash of the year started today with a shouting match, drove Gov. Chris Christie to call a vocal opponent to the proposed Rutgers Camden-Rowan merger an ‘idiot,’ and ended with a stern talking-to by police. Just four questions in, Christie called on William Brown, a 34-year-old law school student and veteran from Mt. Laurel… Brown, a Democrat who ran an unsuccessfully for Assembly last year, says he’s a Navy Seal who served in Iraq. As he testified before the Rutgers Board of Governors last month, he argued the Christie-sanctioned plan to rebrand the South Jersey campus under the Rowan name would rob students of opportunities afforded by Rutgers’ reputation. The Republican governor began to explain that current students would still graduate with degrees from Rutgers. But Brown shouted from audience: ‘What about my son? What about my neighbors? What about my friends?’ ‘Listen we’re not going to get into a debate here, ok?’ Christie said … The exchange continued with Christie’s amplified voice booming from the speakers and Brown yelling up at him from his seat in the back row of the fire hall … An audience clinging to every word dissolved into applause, following by a quintessential Christie sendoff: ‘Let me tell you something after you graduate from law school you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end is going to be thrown in jail, idiot.’ … That’s when township police escorted Brown outside, with reporters and photographers trailing behind.’ [New Jersey Star-Ledger, 3/8/12]
Gov. Chris Christie ‘Has Gotten Into Heated Exchanges With Residents’ At Other Town Halls. ‘While most questions at the once or twice-weekly town halls are friendly, Christie has gotten into heated exchanges with residents, particularly on the issue of teacher compensation. At his 15th town hall in 2010 — he’s up to 71 now — Christie tangled with Keith Chaudruc, a Livingston elementary school teacher from Madison. Christie asked a trooper to bring him closer to the stage where he pointed his finger at him until he was ushered out of the room by a trooper. ‘It’s his playground,’ Chaudruc said at the time. ‘He holds the ball.’’ [New Jersey Star-Ledger, 3/12/12]
Gov. Chris Christie Apologized To A Teacher Who ‘Nearly Didn’t Attend His Latest Town-Hall Meeting To Ask Him A Question Because He Scares Her.’ ‘Gov. Chris Christie apologized Monday to a public-school teacher who said she nearly didn’t attend his latest town-hall meeting to ask him a question because he scares her. The second-grade teacher — who left immediately after the 10-minute exchange and didn’t want to share her name with reporters — said she brought her two children and dog to the gymnasium in the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center in this Hudson County town because she wanted her 3-year-old daughter to respect government and see the governor.’ [Daily Record, 3/20/12]
Refused To Apologize For Calling State Legislator “Numb Nuts” When Walking Back Comments On Civil Rights. “Gov. Chris Christie has apologized for a remark he made about civil rights but says he’s not sorry for using a slang term to describe a lawmaker who compared him to segregationist Southern governors. Christie, a Republican, spoke Tuesday night during TownSquare Media’s ‘Ask the Governor’ program on radio station New Jersey 101.5 FM. He apologized to anyone offended by his comment that people in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s would have been happier to have the matter settled by public vote rather than by dying in the streets. He was comparing civil rights to the fight for gay marriage. But he didn’t back down Tuesday from calling Democratic Assemblyman Reed Gusciora ‘numb nuts’ after the lawmaker compared him to former Govs. George Wallace, of Alabama, and Lester Maddox, of Georgia. He says his late mother used the term.” [Associated Press, 2/1/12]
Christie: State Workers Should “Thank God That You Weren’t Sick.” “New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the only payment state and municipal workers should get for not being sick, is not being sick. Christie made the comments in a town hall meeting last week in a swipe at Democrats in the state legislature over sick time for state and municipal workers. … Christie wants to provide sick pay only to those who are sick. ‘If you are fortunate enough not to get sick, the payment you get is not being sick,’ the governor said. ‘And you should get on your knees and thank God that you weren’t sick, and it shouldn’t be all that complicated.’” [Syracuse Post-Standard, 12/27/11]
Christie To Teacher Who Said She Be Paid More: “Well, You Know What Then, You Don’t Have To Do It.” “‘Well, you know what then, you don’t have to do it.’ — May 25, 2010, in response to a New Jersey teacher who said she should be paid more.” [Politico, 2/3/12]
Christie Asked Reporters To “Take The Bat Out” On Democratic Lawmaker, A Widowed Grandmother. “Using harsh terms to attack his critics has been a regular feature of Gov. Chris Christie’s 15 months in office, and Democratic officials, wary of his and the voters’ wrath, have usually offered only a muted response. But this week, when Mr. Christie, a Republican, used violent imagery in talking about a Democratic lawmaker — a widowed grandmother, to boot — Democrats saw an opening, criticizing him en masse and demanding an apology. The episode began at a news conference on Wednesday, when the governor brought up State Senator Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat from Bergen County, who had accused him of hypocrisy. Mr. Christie said Ms. Weinberg was the hypocrite, asking reporters, ‘Can you guys please take the bat out on her for once?’” [New York Times, 4/15/11]
Christie Launched Into Tirade When Confronted By Protesters At A Romney Event. “Gov. Chris Christie delivered his strongest tirade yet against President Obama on the campaign trail last night in support of Mitt Romney. And his motivation came from an unlikely place. ‘Christie kills jobs!’ an Occupy movement protester yelled in the most dramatic of several flare-ups that ended with police escorting people out of Exeter High School. ‘Really?’ Christie said, his voice rising in mock surprise. The crowd cheered. ‘Something’s going to go down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart,’ he said, launching into a rant intended to thrill voters ahead of tomorrow’s primary. ‘See, there’s this confusion that’s out there because if she was in Jersey, like these Jersey girls here, she would know that we’ve created 60,000 private-sector jobs,’ Christie said, standing before a massive American flag backdrop. To the right of the stage, a calculator ticked off the nation’s growing deficit. ‘And if she wasn’t so blinded by her Barack Obama-induced anger, she’d know that American jobs are coming back when Mitt Romney is the next president of the United States.’” [Newark Star-Ledger, 1/9/12]
CNN Headline: “Combative Christie Is Back, Reporters Learn The Hard Way” [CNN, 3/28/14]
CNN: Christie “Basically [Told] Journalists That He Didn’t Care If They Liked His Answers Or Not” Regarding Bridgegate. “The defiant and combative Chris Christie that reporters knew from the past returned in full spring bloom on Friday, now that a report he commissioned cleared him of wrongdoing in the George Washington Bridge lane closure controversy… He tightly managed Friday’s news conference, basically telling journalists that he didn’t care if they liked his answers or not.” [CNN, 3/28/14]
Christie Interrupted A Reporter Asking About Bridgegate, Saying, “Can You Get To It Already?” “A few minutes into his first news conference in more than two months, New Jersey’s Republican governor flashed his famous cantankerousness at suggestions he was hiding something about the apparently politically motivated traffic jams last September in Fort Lee. ‘Colorful,’ he interjected as one journalist asked an extended question. ‘Can you get to it already?’” [CNN, 3/28/14]
Christie, When Asked By A Reporter About Bridgegate: “The Premise Of The Question Is So Infirm I’m Not Going To Answer It.” “Later, he cut off a reporter to complain she was wrong about the timing of events in December. ‘Stop,” he said, insisting that ‘you have to get the facts right if you’re going to ask the question.’ When the journalist persisted, Christie cut in with ‘excuse me, excuse me’ and then moved on by saying ‘the premise of the question is so infirm I’m not going to answer it.’” [CNN, 3/28/14]
Christie, Regarding His Motivation For Not Speaking To Kelly: “I Don’t Know Whether You Can’t Take Notes Or You’re Not Listening, But For You To Characterize My Last Answer That I Didn’t Want To Ask Her Because I Didn’t Want To Know Is So Awful That It Is Beneath The Job You Hold.” “One particularly heated exchange involved Bridget Kelly, his former deputy chief of staff whose now-infamous email ‘Time for some Traffic problems in Fort Lee’ propelled what was a little noticed local controversy into an outright political crisis for the governor. Christie said he canned Kelly for lying to him, and he decided against meeting with her before the firing to avoid any perception of coercion or intimidation on the matter. When a reporter persisted on the topic, Christie exploded at the premise of the question. ‘I don’t know whether you can’t take notes or you’re not listening, but for you to characterize my last answer that I didn’t want to ask her because I didn’t want to know is so awful that it is beneath the job you hold,’ he said.” [CNN, 3/28/14]
Christie Stood Up And Tried To Grab Joy Behar’s Notes At A Political Roast When She Joked About The Bridgegate Scandal. “Joy Behar, the former co-host of ‘The View,’ was even more pointed. ‘When I first heard that he was accused of blocking off three lanes on the bridge, I said, ‘What the hell is he doing, standing in the middle of the bridge?’’ After another barb, Christie interrupted her. ‘This is a Byrne roast,’ he said. He stood up and tried to grab her notes. The audience laughed awkwardly. ‘Stop bullying me,’ Behar said as he sat down. Christie said something out of earshot and Behar responded, ‘Why don’t you get up here at the microphone instead of being such a coward?’ Christie stood up again and moved in front of the lectern as Behar retreated. ‘At least I don’t get paid for this,’ he said. Christie sat down and Behar continued, though she was noticeably rattled. ‘I really don’t know about the Presidency,’ she said. ‘Let me put it to you this way, in a way that you’d appreciate: You’re toast.’” [New Yorker, 4/14/14]
Asked About His Use Of Bullying Language Toward People Christie Said, Sometimes Folks Have To Be Called Out And “I Am Who I Am. And I’m Not Going To Change.” Johnson: “But don’t you think using that type of verbiage is really disrespectful? And speaking from one parent to another, how is that a good example for our children?” Christie: “Sometimes, you know, folks have to know that if people act in a certain way that they’ll be called out on it. And using direct and blunt language is something that I’ve done my whole life. It was the way my mother raised me, and so, you know, there can be differences of opinion on that Kristine and I respect that but what I’ll tell you is, here’s what the people of New Jersey will know. I am who I am. And I’m not going to change. And I think their comfortable with the leadership I’ve provided over the last four years in this question.” [New Jersey Gubernatorial Debate, 10/08/13]