Potential 2014 Dem Candidate Gov. John Baldacci Addresses Misleading LePage TV Ad (Video; Text)

Posted on April 8, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Former Maine governor and potential 2014 gubernatorial opponent Governor John Baldacci was the focus of a surprisingly very early released Paul LePage television ad last Thursday:

Via PPH:

    A political organization that backs Gov. Paul LePage has released a statewide television ad urging lawmakers to back the governor’s plan to repay $484 million in backlogged Medicaid payments to Maine’s hospitals.

    The ad also takes a swipe at former Gov. John Baldacci, who has expressed interest in running for governor in 2014. The ad, purchased by Maine People Before Politics, says Baldacci is responsible for the debt, which it claims caused layoffs and jeopardized health care for “seniors and families.”

    settle2The Medicaid debt began accumulating years before Baldacci took office in 2003. It has been attributed to a payment system that didn’t keep pace with hospitals’ Medicaid claims to the state. Baldacci and the Legislature made payments that sent $3.7 billion to hospitals over the last decade, but not enough to erase the debt.

Within hours, the Baldacci camp sent out a press release which read in part:

    Gov. LePage prefers to fight rather than govern. There’s bipartisan agreement on the need to repay the hospitals, but the governor can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer,”
    Gov. Baldacci said. “The governor should be focused on the state budget, where his plans would raise property taxes, cut education and hurt the economy. It’s so bad, Republicans can’t support it as it is.”

    “This type of partisanship and attack politics might get Gov. LePage’s base excited, but it’s no way to govern,” Gov. Baldacci said. “During eight years in office, meeting the state’s obligations to its hospitals was one of my highest priorities. We worked at the problem in a bipartisan way and put the best interests of the state ahead of politics.”

    “At the height of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Democrats and Republicans came together on a bipartisan plan that put the hospitals first in line,” Baldacci said. “We did it to ensure that Maine people would have access to the care they needed and to prevent hospital layoffs. And then, in that same spirit of bipartisan cooperation, we implemented payment reform. We adopted a pay-as-you-go system that’s in place today.”

    “Gov. LePage and his political organization have sunk to these political attacks in a desperate attempt to avoid talking about his failed budget,” Gov. Baldacci said. “With a massive tax shift to towns and cities, with cuts to education and health care, Gov. LePage has proposed a devastating. For eight years, I worked across the aisle to build bipartisan support for the state budget. LePage has managed something a little different: He’s united Democrats, Republicans and Independents in opposition to his ideas.”

Governor Baldacci then held a media availability opportunity the following morning at Husson’s Gracie Theatre, following the governor participating in a forum on fixing the national debt. Below is video and transcription of my quick interview.

    Me: I was wondering if you might want to expand upon the press release you put out yesterday, in regards to was that your administration was able to accomplish on working on the hospital debt, and if you would want to expand on that.

    Governor Baldacci: Well, the only comments that I was making was that the ad that is on television is completely inaccurate and the fact is that we didn’t walk away from our hospital debt.

    We, in fact, had an agreement with the Maine Hospital Association that we would pay down the debt and was bipartisanly agreed to by the legislature, and as a matter of fact, $473 million dollars we paid down in terms of settlement debt in my administration and we worked bipartisanly with the Maine Hospital Association to get that approved.

    And the other point was that no one was ever denied access to health care because of hospital financing. It was never brought to my attention and if there are cases of it, it would be news to me.

    photoSo it is wrong on both points, but more importantly, it’s a red herring, because it’s diverting attention away from the budget that Governor LePage introduced, that cuts reimbursements to communities, raises property taxes on working families and small businesses, cuts aid to education and also it hurts teacher retirements and their pensions, that they worked their whole lives for.

    The issues- those are the issues. That’s where the focus needs to be.
    It’s not on issues that everybody agrees on, never been dealt with as part of history, you know; if he wants to rewrite history or not, that’s up to him. I don’t want to waste my time with that stuff. I want to focus on what the real issues are and the real issues are what his budget does with shifting $400 million dollars in property tax increases, breaking commitments to revenue sharing, breaking commitments to teachers and their retirement.

    We were able to honor those commitments and not raise taxes and still address issues of hospital debt and deficit. And I think that he should not be pointing fingers, because, my father always said that “when you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you”. So I think he has a lot to answer for.

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Michaud “Looking at” 2014 Gubernatorial Run; Cain “Would Consider” Running for Open 2CD Seat

Posted on March 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Despite ongoing speculation that former Governor John Baldacci is considering a return campaign for the Blaine House, it was announced Monday that US Congressman Mike Michaud is seriously weighing similar options.

Rep. Michaud said Monday that while his current focus is on getting staff settled on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (of which Michaud was named the top Democrat), he is also considering a run against incumbent Governor Paul LePage next year.

chop mike

    “Right now I’m focused on getting the Veterans’ Affairs staff up and running,”
    Michaud said. Asked what his thoughts are on a potentially wide-open governor’s race, he replied: “I will be looking at that as well.”

    “I haven’t really set any timelines on making a final decision,” he added.

    Should the House flip control in 2014, Michaud could find himself with the gavel on an important committee for his northern district constituents, which may weigh on his decision to make a gubernatorial run. The sixth-term congressman said he has “been asked by quite a few people whether or not” he will decide to run.

Among those people asking are the Maine Democratic Party, who have been actively polling their members to find what candidates would garner the strongest support. Some of the names they have been asking about include those of former Governor John Baldacci, Rep. Chellie Pingree, Senate President Justin Alfond, AG Janet Mills, Michaud and freshman State Senator Emily Cain (Orono).

Currently Yarmouth businessman Steve Woods has formally declared himself as a 2014 gubernatorial candidate, Governor LePage has set up a campaign committee with the Maine Ethics Commission that has raised more than $200,000 for a re-election bid, perennial Independent candidate Eliot Cutler has filed but not yet raised funds, as has Democrat David Slaggar of Orono.

Were Michaud to jump into the 2014 gubernatorial race, that would of course leave his own 2nd Congressional District seat wide open. Today, Senator Cain indicated that she would be interested in the created opening.

emily cain“There is no question that I am seriously considering and evaluating the opportunity to run for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District,” Cain said in an interview early Tuesday. “I have been getting a lot of calls and taking a lot of calls from Maine and [Washington] DC. It’s exciting to think about.”

Cain said Tuesday that she would seek Michaud’s seat only if the Democrat, who is serving his sixth term representing the 2nd District, opts to enter the 2014 governor’s race.

“I’m a big fan of Mike Michaud, but if he decides to run for governor I would very seriously consider running for his 2nd Congressional District seat,” Cain said Tuesday morning.

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Video: Did 2009 Waterville Mayor Paul LePage Rip 2013 Governor LePage for Revenue Sharing Cuts to Towns, Education Funding Failures?

Posted on February 11, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Okay, not exactly– in this video clip of an April 2009 Waterville City Council meeting, then Mayor LePage is releasing his ire and repeated usage of his favorite “BS” curse- previous examples here(2010), here(2011) and here(2012) at then Governor John Baldacci.

But considering LePage’s recently released proposed budget with a complete cessation of revenue sharing to all Maine municipalities, the interpretation is certainly a valid one.

Watch for yourself.

The clip’s descriptive:

    During a 2009 city council meeting, a foul-mouthed Mayor Paul LePage attacked then-Gov. Baldacci for “sticking it to the property taxpayers” when a recession-induced revenue collapse forced across-the-board budget cuts. Gov. LePage is now proposing an even greater tax shift that favors rich Mainers at the expense of Maine’s middle class.

Over the weekend, this incident was mentioned as part of an examination of the current budget battle:

    …as mayor, LePage also liked state funding.

    waterville mayorFor example, he clashed with the administration of Gov. John Baldacci in 2009 when the state changed the way it reimbursed schools, leaving Waterville with likely $1.1 million less in funding than it expected. That change was discovered days before LePage announced his 2010 gubernatorial run.

    A story then in the Morning Sentinel said the then-mayor “blasted Gov. John Baldacci’s administration for what LePage called forcing costly unfunded mandates onto communities that cannot afford them.”

    “All they’re doing is transferring state responsibility onto taxpayers, and people keep falling for this governor’s bull–,” he was quoted as saying.

    The story said LePage doubled down on those remarks later, saying “I think the people of Maine should rally against this administration,” and again, “It’s bull–.”

100_5149It is worth noting that in 2009, Mayor LePage was upset over a $1.1 million cut in funding to his city- and that his 2013 proposed budget as Governor represents over double that amount ($2.3 million) for Waterville.

Perhaps LePage would be wise to take his earlier advice:

    “Governor, please watch this show. You’ve got to go back to the blackboard.”
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