LePage and Pingree steal each other's material

Look like twins
By AL DIAMON  |  October 7, 2010

Democratic US Representative Chellie Pingree does this hilarious imitation of Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage. It’s all the funnier because Pingree is a liberal incumbent, and LePage is a conservative challenger. Also adding to the laughs, she’s supposed to be an experienced politician, and he acts like a novice bumbler.

It gets better. LePage has shown he can get on stage and channel Pingree. If you close your eyes so you can’t see his jowls, you’d swear she’s in the room. Although, come to think of it, she’s been looking a little jowly herself of late, particularly when she’s acting self-righteous.

Of course, these dual impersonations are made easier by LePage and Pingree both having been exposed in recent weeks for doing stupid things, after which they both tried to make those problems go away by pretending they were of no importance. LePage was embarrassed by reports his wife had illegally claimed residency — and property-tax breaks — in both Maine and Florida at the same time. Pingree was caught on several occasions flying on a corporate jet owned by her boyfriend, a practice she used to condemn before she got elected to Congress.

“It was an error, it was no big deal,” said one of them to the Associated Press. (It could have been either, but it was LePage.)

“It seems these are politically motivated attacks on my personal life .... It seems to me that’s crossing a line,” said one of them to the MaineToday Media newspapers. (You could flip a coin, but it was actually Pingree.)

To make the dueling disguises even more difficult to penetrate, spokesmen for both campaigns joined the fun. Guess whether it was Pingree mouthpiece Willy Ritch or LePage front man Brent Littlefield who made the following statements to the MaineToday papers:

“This has nothing to do with the real, serious issues we face, like bringing jobs back to our state. Maine people don’t want to hear this kind of attack on people’s personal lives.”

“We have tax problems in the state, we have education problems in the state, and we’re focused on a paperwork error.”

Ritch said the first one, Littlefield the second. Although, it could have been the other way around.

Back to the candidates, this time with quotes from the Bangor Daily News.

“When people spend their time stalking a candidate and trying to spread rumors and be very invasive — it’s just not the way we do things in politics in Maine.”

Actually, it is. Just ask the likes of John Hathaway (allegations of sexual abuse), Chandler Woodcock (failure to pay property taxes on time), or John Richardson (campaign workers allegedly falsified Clean Election documents). I assume the only reason Pingree would say something so inane is that she’s pretending to be LePage.

“I am overly protective of my family.”

LePage actually said that, although it could easily have been Pingree discussing her multi-millionaire boyfriend or partner or fiancé or whatever she’s calling him this week.

The charades have now expanded to include both political parties. Arden Manning, the Democrats’ campaign coordinator, told the Bangor paper that LePage’s wife committed “a very serious violation.” On another occasion, Manning said LePage’s actions raised “serious concerns” about how his administration “would deal with serious issues.”

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