LEWISTON, Maine — There may be no love lost between Maine Gov. Paul LePage and President Barack Obama. On many issues LePage and Obama would be viewed as political polar opposites.
LePage once even famously said he would tell the president to “go to hell” regarding federal commercial fishing regulations and their impact on Maine.
Perhaps that’s all behind them now.
Based on things LePage, a Republican, and Obama, a Democrat, have said recently it appears the two share some very similar views and on more things than most people would imagine.
Mainers listening closely to Obama’s State of the Union Address Tuesday night may have noticed he said a few things that sounded a lot like things LePage said just a few days earlier.
Call it an early Valentine card, but here’s a quick look at where the governor and the president apparently see eye-to-eye.
During his State of the State Address on Tuesday, Feb. 5, LePage said:
“We passed legislation to strengthen vocational education. This will ensure that Maine students who work with their hands have more opportunities to learn valuable skills and gain good paying careers.”
One week later on Tuesday, Feb. 12, Obama said:
“Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job.”
LePage: “I really believe that we need to do something about (domestic violence). I think that half of the homicides in this state are due to domestic violence. And that, we all agree, no matter what we’re from, that that’s unacceptable … domestic violence is family violence. It’s a heinous crime. We, the men in this room, need to stand up and shout loud and clear, that we are going to protect our women and children.”
Obama: “We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence … we’ll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and doing more to encourage fatherhood – because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one.”
LePage: “Tonight I am directing Commissioner Bowen to develop a ranking system for Maine schools as they have done in Florida and Indiana. Each school in Maine will be graded have a grade: A-B-C-D or F. ”
Obama: “And tomorrow, my Administration will release a new ‘College Scorecard’ that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”
LePage: “My childhood hero President John F. Kennedy had it right: ‘An economy constrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create enough jobs or enough profits.’ It was true in 1960, and it’s still true in 2013.”
Obama: “Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this Chamber that ‘the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress … It is my task,’ he said, ‘to report the State of the Union – to improve it is the task of us all.’”
LePage: “No one governor, or one party, is going to move this state forward. It takes all of us. All of us willing to roll up our our sleeves and go to work …
“Improving our economy is vital, and it can only be done if we all put away our ideologies to improve the job climate in this state.
“Maine families need our help — all of us. They are tired of the partisan political rhetoric. Here in our state, and in Washington.”
Obama: “The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can. For they know that America moves forward only when we do so together; and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.”