PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Republican who made headlines with his “go to hell” remark aimed at President Barack Obama says he’s looking forward to meeting his commander in chief on Thursday.
But he hasn’t changed his message about what he describes as burdensome federal regulations that stymie job growth.
Gov.-elect Paul LePage, who won a five-way race with support of the tea party, is joining other governors-elect in Washington to meet with Obama and to discuss homeland security.
LePage said he looks forward to talking to Obama.
If he gets the opportunity, LePage said he’ll do a better job of explaining himself than he did before a GOP forum attended by fishermen in the coastal town of Brooksville.
Back in September, LePage had an emphatic response for fishermen who complained that federal regulations were threatening their livelihoods. “As your governor, you’re going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page, saying ‘Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell,”’ he said to applause.
LePage said he regretted his earlier language, but he remains concerned about federal bureaucrats imposing rules and regulations that put people out of work.
“Do not come to Maine and put our people out of work through federal policy,” LePage said before departing Wednesday for Washington, D.C. “That’s what prompted that whole comment. They’re docking our boats and not letting them go fish. And I have a problem with that.”
As governor, LePage has promised to cut red tape and unnecessary rules and regulations that he views as impediments to economic development and job creation.
LePage and more than a dozen other Republican governors-elect will meet Wednesday evening with incoming House Speaker John Boehner to talk about the economy, government spending and efforts to create jobs. Also on the agenda is a sore subject for many Republicans: Obama’s health care overhaul.
On Thursday, there’ll be a bipartisan meeting of governors with Obama. The main topic will be homeland security, White House officials said.