Two New Governors Cause Early Political Stirs

 
Maine Governor Paul LePage was sworn into office on January 5. By January 15, he was embroiled in a dispute that brought him negative attention nationally.

Invited by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to attend events on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, LePage declined the invitation, citing scheduling conflicts. When he was criticized for his decision, the outspoken Republican - who said on the campaign trail that he wouldn't be afraid to tell President Obama to " go to hell " - told his critics to " kiss my butt ." The episode sparked a national backlash, and eventually LePage reconsidered and attended a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast in his hometown.

LePage isn't the only new governor who has found himself the subject of sharp criticism just days after taking office.

In Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley is doing political damage control after saying - in a speech on the day of his inauguration - that any non-Christian is "not my brother" and "not my sister." Bentley's words immediately found their way into national media, and even became the subject of a discussion on the daytime TV talk show " The View ."

"What I would like to do is apologize. Should anyone who heard those words and felt disenfranchised, I want to say, 'I'm sorry.' If you're not a person who can say you are sorry, you're not a very good leader," Bentley, a Republican, said following his initial remarks, according to The Birmingham News .

"Today's Take" provides a quick analysis of the day's top news in state government.

Contact John Gramlich at jgramlich@stateline.org .



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