AUGUSTA, Maine — The often-brash governor of Maine used crude language Thursday to express his frustration over the state budget, targeting a Democratic opponent with a sexually vulgar phrase to describe how he is taking advantage of the people.
Governor Paul LePage made the remark about state Senator Troy Jackson to journalists from two television stations and one newspaper on Thursday. When one television reporter responded that people were bound to find the remark offensive, the governor repeated a variation of it.
The governor, a Republican, spoke with reporters after announcing he would veto a two-year budget bill.
His remarks were targeted at Jackson, the assistant Democratic leader, who criticized the governor’s veto announcement and call for a 60-day reprieve to negotiate a new budget as a political stunt. Jackson said the state Legislature had enough votes to override the veto and that there was no need for lawmakers to negotiate with LePage.
LePage responded that Jackson ‘‘claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.’’
He added, ‘‘He is bad. He has no brains, and he has a black heart.’’
State Senator Seth Goodall, Democratic leader, criticized the governor’s attack.
‘‘Mainers expect more from our leaders. There should never be room for personal attacks and insults on someone’s character,’’ Goodall said. ‘‘Language like this is offensive, no matter who says it. We expect more in our schools. We expect more at home around our kitchen table. And surely we expect more from our governor.’’
LePage, who was elected in 2010, is known for speaking his mind. He once told the NAACP to ‘‘kiss my butt,’’ and he compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo.
He was not of a mind to retract his comments when WMTW reporter Paul Merrill told him others might find them offensive.
‘‘Good. It ought to, because I’ve been taking it for two years,’’ he said.