Kay at WhiteNoiseInsanity has nailed a story documenting GOP nominee for Governor of Maine Paul LePage running away from his clearly documented declarations of creationism — both as a personal belief and more importantly as a political stance for inclusion in Maine public schools.
Kay’s transcript misses some passages, so I’ll offer my own transcription of an interview with WGAN radio’s Ken Altshuler interview on July 29, 2010. To confirm the transcription, you can listen for yourself to audio of the exchange on the WGAN morning show, audio that I’ve mirrored here in case the original disappears from the web. The exchange begins with Altshuler asking Paul LePage for clarification on his claim that Democrat Arden Manning insulted him for being a “Franco-American.” (LePage made this claim to victim status after he was caught on tape telling Mainers that rival candidate for Governor Elizabeth Mitchell is too old and should go home.) There’s apparently no documentation of any such “Franco-American” bashing by Manning, and Althshuler asked LePage to provide such documentation on his show, which is how the conversation started.
Maine Republican Party candidate for Governor Paul LePage: Yeah, yeah. He [Manning] sent a letter out and said I was a creationist. If he apologizes for calling me a creationist then I’ll apologize to him. End of story.
WGAN’s Ken Altshuler: Well, OK Paul, but let me…
Paul LePage: Now, well, wait a minute! You asked me on, so let me speak. It is time, it is really time, to move on. I’m not running for Pope. I’m not running for School Board. I’m running for Governor of the state of Maine. And that is a distraction. I’m moving on. He wants to stay with this, fine. I can’t, I can’t, uh, divide the river, I can’t spread the waters, and I can’t walk on it. So let’s move on.
Ken Altshuler: Well Paul, let me follow up. Whether or not Arden said something about you for that he should apologize, he is not running for Governor. You are. You have accused him of, in my opinion, making a racist comment, because if Arden said that, that is racist, and you’re running…
LePage: That’s your…
Altshuler: Hold on a second, Bob. You’re running for Governor. He’s not. You’re in the public spotlight; I think maybe 3% of Mainers probably, don’t even know who he is. My question to you is have you found any written or verbal evidence that in fact Arden Manning said that because of your French Canadian Catholic background you are not qualified to be Governor?
LePage: Now Ken, let me answer that this way. I have looked at my record as Mayor of Waterville. I see no evidence of being a creationist. I’ve looked at my business career. I see no evidence of being a creationist. The only possible way that they can come up with the term “creationist” is that I am a French Catholic and I believe in God.
Altshuler: I am going to try one more time, Paul. I understand, and I promise you I will bring up the issue about creationism in a minute, but you’re answering the question by bringing up…
LePage: I have answered the question. Move on.
Altshuler: No. My question was, have you found any evidence that Arden Manning said that because of your French Canadian background you are not qualified to be Governor? We’ll talk about the creationism in a minute. Has Arden Manning, have you found any evidence that Arden Manning made this racist comment about you?
LePage: Now, I’ll repeat it again. I have looked at my life. I have looked at my career. There is nowheres in my career that the term “creationist” comes in. The only part of my life, my 61 years on this Earth, that anyone could ever consider me a creationist is because I am a French Catholic and I believe in God.
The problem is for Paul LePage that on May 27 2010, in a videorecorded public debate between Maine GOP candidates for Governor broadcast across the state of Maine, MPBN’s Jennifer Rooks asked the following question:
Do you believe in creationism, and do you think it should be taught in Maine public schools?
That’s the complete text question of Jennifer Rooks’ question. This is the complete text of Paul LePage’s answer:
I would say intelligence, uh, the more education you have the more knowledge you have the better person you are and I believe yes and yes.
As with last week’s radio interview, I welcome you to verify LePage’s remarks for yourself. The truth stands up.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide to slap a judgmental label on this. It’s up to you to decide whether Paul LePage has been caught in a lie, a fib, a misrepresentation, a furious backpedal or an obfuscation. But clearly, what Paul LePage told Ken Altshuler and the people of Maine this past week is not a truthful representation. Paul LePage stated baldly and without equivocation not only that he believes in creationism (his own personal business), but that he thinks creationism should be taught in Maine public schools (a policy matter that is everyone’s business).
I’d like to encourage reporters to follow up on this matter and ask Paul LePage why he’s trying to hide his avowed creationism and creationist policy preferences. Is Paul LePage ashamed of his creationist policy declaration? Would Paul LePage just rather people not notice this? I wish reporters would ask Paul LePage these questions, but it seems they would be to no avail. LePage has declared he won’t take any more questions from reporters except in writing:
Paul LePage: Well, from now on what I’m going to do is I’m not going to make any comments to reporters unless it’s in writing.
George Hale: Really?
Paul LePage: Yeah, ’cause they won’t report what you say.