Augusta — In his final, often rambling, State of the State address last night, Governor Paul LePage said if Maine wants to move forward, it needs to toughen up.
“If you want this Medicaid expansion to go forward, there needs to be two things: you need to appropriate the money, and you need to square off with me inside the ring,” the governor said.
“The only thing that is going to sting worse than being unable to find that money is the sting of these fists,” he said, throwing several mock punches from the podium. The move was met with mild applause from members of the Maine GOP.
“You think this is a game?” he said, going off his prepared remarks. “You kids forget, I grew up in Lewiston. I made it on my own. You think I can’t brawl?” the governor said as he jumped rope at the podium.
“If you think you’re too good to catch these hands, you’ve got another thing coming.”
The governor briefly returned to his prepared speech before once again going off, this time to work a speed bag.
“This is the sweet science, now. Forget politics. They used to call me Boxcar Lew. I was in the amateur circuit. Trained by the best.” The governor then took a break to hydrate before spitting into a bucket.
Senate Minority Leader Troy Jackson said “we don’t even know where that bucket came from. Was he hiding it under the podium?”
At one point, the governor spent several minutes talking to his boxing coach.
“Again, no idea where that guy came from. Just sort of appeared,” a baffled Jackson said.
Democratic lawmakers criticized the governor for forgetting he’s in an entirely different weight class now, and would be unprepared for the speed and stamina necessary to win at a lower weight.
“It’s a game of strategy, of attrition, and I don’t think the Governor is taking that into consideration.”