Entries in MMartin Luther King Jr. (1)


Maine Gov. to NAACP: 'Kiss My Butt'

Photo Courtesy - Office of Governor Paul LeGrand(PORTLAND, Maine) -- Here's a little tip for newly elected, first-time governors: You might want to hold off on telling the NAACP to kiss your butt on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But Gov. Paul LePage, Maine's Republican chief executive, did just that Friday when pressed on why he would forgo attending events to commemorate the holiday. He later made room in his schedule, after the predictable fallout. The remark came as a throwaway line after a longer, somewhat more thoughtful explanation as to why he declined the organization's event.

"They are a special interest," he told Portland's WCSH-TV. "End of story. And I'm not going to be held hostage by any special interests. And if they want, they can look at my family picture. My son happens to be black. So they can do whatever they'd like about it."

LePage's son, Devon Raymond, was adopted from Jamaica.

The governor, who is white, went on to explain his stance and stress that he also had a scheduling conflict. But when pressed by the reporter for a response to claims by the NAACP that he has a history of being racially insensitive, the governor shrugged and answered, "Tell 'em to kiss my butt. If they want to play the race card, come to dinner and my son will talk to them."

The NAACP swiftly denounced the ill-considered quip. In a statement following the governor's initial comments, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous called LePage "out of touch with our nation's deep yearning for increased civility and racial healing."

Instead of pursuing an NAACP butt-kissing, the governor ended up attending a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast Monday (as opposed to the dinner Sunday) after all. He even joined in an African dance.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio