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Maine’s Controversial Governor Paul LePage Flirts With Quitting

Maine Governor Hints at Resignation Before Discounting the Idea 2:03

On second thought, he's staying.

Maine's controversial Gov. Paul LePage floated the possibility Tuesday that he might be ready to resign after five stormy years — then quickly changed his mind.

Maine Gov. LePage considering resignation 2:59

"Regarding rumors of resignation, to paraphrase Mark Twain: "The reports of my political demise are greatly exaggerated," LePage tweeted.

Image: Paul LePage
Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a news conference at the State House on Jan. 8 in Augusta, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Just a few hours earlier, LePage was singing a different tune during an appearance on WVOM, a talk radio station in Bangor, Maine.

"I'm looking at all options," LePage said. "I think some things I've been asked to do are beyond my ability. I'm not going to say that I'm not going to finish it. I'm not saying that I am going to finish it."

"If I've lost my ability to help Maine people, maybe it's time to move on," he said later.

The Republican governor's contrite words came several days after he sparked yet another firestorm of criticism by leaving a an angry voicemail for a Democratic legislator during which he challenged the lawmaker to "prove that I'm a racist."

That rant resulted in calls from both Democrats and Republicans for LePage to "amend for his recent actions," the Portland Press-Herald reported.

"When I was called a racist I just lost it, and there's no excuse," LePage said on WVOM. "It's unacceptable. It's totally my fault."

Being called a racist, LePage said, was "like calling a black man the 'N' word or a woman the 'C' word. It just absolutely knocked me off my feet."

LePage said he planned to meet with family and close advisers to decide what to do next. He says he hoped his constituents would forgive him and say, "You clean up your act and let's move forward.'"

The governor also apologized again to state Rep. Drew Gattine for leaving the foul-mouthed message on his government phone line.

Gattine has denied calling LePage a racist. His spokeswoman Ann Kim said he will meet face-to-face with the governor on Wednesday morning.

This was not the first time LePage's words have landed him in trouble. Since he was elected in 2011, LePage has made numerous remarks that have been criticized as racist, insensitive and downright crude.

Related: He Said What? A Short History of Maine Gov's Controversial Remarks

A Short History of Gov. LePage's Controversial Comments 1:43

Back in January LePage apologized for saying that out-of-state drug dealers come to Maine to peddle heroin and impregnate "white girls."

But on Tuesday, even as he was apologizing, LePage continued to focus on the races of the state's drug offenders.

"Every drug arrest, we get the story and the people, and when it comes to meth labs it's all white people from Maine," he said. "When it comes to heroin, it's just the opposite. Whether it's right or wrong and I'll leave you to make that judgment, but I spoke fact."