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    LePage brings ‘Russian dolls’ as props to press conference

    FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2016, file photo, Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a news conference at the State House in Augusta, Maine. Lepage said Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, he intends to seek "spiritual guidance" in hopes of quieting a controversy he created when he left an obscene message on a Democratic lawmaker's voicemail and then said he wished he could challenge him to a duel and point a gun at him. LePage said he doesn't intend to talk to the media anymore, a claim he has made before. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
    Robert F. Bukaty/AP/file 2016
    Maine Governor Paul LePage.

    Just when you thought the presidential election couldn’t get much weirder, Maine Governor Paul LePage upped the ante.

    The embattled elected official on Wednesday addressed a room full of reporters while standing behind a display of “Russian nesting dolls,” or Matryoshka dolls. The prominently displayed figures had pictures of former President Bill Clinton, the intern with whom he admitted having an affair, and other women painted on them.

    LePage said he had “been to Russia a couple of times, and I’m going again next year.”

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    He said that’s where he had picked up the provocative dolls.

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    “I got these in Russia,” he said. “I got them in 2008, last time I was there.”

    LePage is an ardent supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who is lagging in the polls behind Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    Clinton stood by her husband despite his infidelity with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, and the accusations of other women.

    LePage went on to say that he just likes “to have [the dolls] in my office. But I just want to show you that we’re not always, in foreign countries, we’re not always viewed upon very highly.”

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    A reporter from WBUR-FM pointed out that similar dolls can be purchased on eBay.

    The full press conference can be watched here. In the background, before LePage speaks, someone can be heard saying, “Is this happening?” as others try to identify the women painted onto the oblong figures.

    In a rare exchange with his state’s media, LePage spoke with reporters in an effort to correct what he called a “mistake” made earlier this week, during a radio interview. LePage had said in that interview that what the US needs in the wake of the current administration is “authoritarian power.”

    “Sometimes I wonder that our Constitution is not only broken, but we need a Donald Trump to show some authoritarian power in our country and bring back the rule of law,” he said in the radio interview.

    LePage amended that statement Wednesday, claiming that what he meant to say was, “authoritative.”

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    “Donald Trump ... is a very powerful personality, and he has a very authoritative persona,” he said. “That’s really, what I really meant.”

    LePage went on to call President Obama a “dictator” and said he has “failed the American people.”

    He also attacked the assembled media.

    “I have no respect for you at all,” he said. “Make no bones about that. I think that you all live in a world of words and your life is to destroy people instead of doing the good things.”

    In August, LePage openly considered resigning after an expletive voicemail to a Democratic lawmaker. In September he declared that he would no longer to talk to the press who weren’t in talk radio.

    Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.