NAACP, LePage interpreted prison visit that sparked comment differently

Posted Jan. 19, 2011, at 12:13 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The state director of the NAACP says Maine Gov. Paul LePage is misstating details about an invitation to a prisoners’ forum.

LePage said he turned down the invitation to the Maine State Prison because the NAACP wanted him to meet with black inmates, not all prisoners. His remark came after telling critics of his decision to decline invitations to Martin Luther King Jr. Day events to “kiss my butt.”

The NAACP’s Rachel Talbot Ross told the Portland Press Herald that LePage and other gubernatorial candidates were invited last year to a forum with all prisoners — not just black ones.

LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt said LePage and his staff had a different “characterization” of the prison event, which was eventually canceled.

The remark sparked national interest, including a mention on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”