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Maine Governor Snared in MLK Dust-Up

Newly elected Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a favorite of many local tea party enthusiasts, drew headlines earlier in the month when he endorsed moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe’s 2012 election bid. Today, he’s making headlines for telling the NAACP to “kiss my butt.”

The dispute, as reported by a local television station, began when LePage refused to attend ceremonies planned for Martin Luther King Day.

“They are a special interest,” said the Republican governor in remarks captured on video.

“Tell ’em to kiss my butt.”

LePage noted that he has an adopted son from Jamaica who is black.

“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,” he said.

It’s unclear what impact the statement might have on local politics, if any. Maine is among the whitest states in the nation. Census data shows that in 2009 96 percent of the population was white, compared with the national average of 79.6 percent.

Since taking office, LePage has earned mixed reviews from the local tea party movement that had helped boost his candidacy during the election. Tea partyers are struggling to find a Republican primary challenger to oust Snowe, an effort dubbed “Snowe removal.”

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