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LePage Stumbles on Abortion Questioning in Maine Governor’s Debate

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Republicans are scrambling to find an effective abortion message in this season’s campaign, according to Tuesday’s maine gubernatorial debate. Former Gov. Paul LePage repeatedly stumbled over the question of how he would handle the issue if voters put him back in office.

The issue is in favor of Democrats, whose bases are revitalized after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Republicans are vying over ways to reassure swing voters without alienating conservatives. facing a dilemma. Janet Mills, a Democrat seeking a second four-year term, sits feet away from Le Page, a Republican who resigned in 2019 after Maine barred him from serving a third consecutive term. She seemed to sense her chance when she was there.

Asked if he would remove state restrictions on abortion, Mills said he supported the current law. Maine allows abortions until the fetus can survive outside the mother’s womb, usually until she is 24 to 28 weeks.

“My veto will hinder efforts to roll back, undermine, and outright eliminate the right to safe and legal abortion in Maine,” Mills said.

Lepage was then asked if he would sign a bill that would impose additional restrictions on abortion in the state. Democrats hold majorities in both houses of the Maine legislature. Republicans are playing to flip both in November.

“I support the current law,” LePage said.

“If they bring those bills to you, why don’t you sign it?” asked Penelope Overton, a staff writer for the Portland Press-Herald, one of the moderators.

“Exactly,” he replied.

Ms. Mills jumped at the chance, pointing out that Maine could pass a bill without the governor’s signature.

“Would you pass a law without your signature?” Mr. Mills asked.

“I don’t know. I’ll see — that’s a hypothesis,” LePage said.

“You were the governor,” continued Mr. Mills. “You know what your options are.”

“Wait a minute,” said Mr. Lepage, throwing his hands in the air.

“Would you pass the law without your signature?” Mr. Mills asked, turning left to face his predecessor, pointing repeatedly at him.

Mr. Lupage dropped the pen he was holding and bent down to pick it up from the ground.

“Will you let the baby breathe?” he asked, twisting the pen in his hand. “Will you let the baby breathe, then—”

Mr. Lupage cut off the question. It was unclear what he was asking, and a campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for clarification or comment on the article.

Mr. Mills sat cross-legged in his chair, his hands flat on the table in front of him, and continued to press.

“Do you allow restrictive laws to come into force without your signature?” she asked, staring at Mr. Lepage. “Are you against abortion restrictions?”

“Do you want to block?” Mr. Page said. “This is what I do,” he added, chopping his hands in the air in front of him. You are talking about hypotheses.”

“No,” said Mr. Mills with a smile. “It wasn’t.”

Ms. Overton recalled that Ms. LePage asked if she would veto the additional abortion restrictions.

“I don’t quite understand your question,” LePage said.

“I understand the question,” Mills interjected. “My veto will get in the way”

“When you say restrictions, I try to understand,” LePage said.

Another moderator, Jennifer Rooks, who hosts a radio show on Main Public, stepped in and asked Mr. LePage what he would do if, in 15 weeks, Congress passed a bill banning abortion.

“Are you going to deny it?” Mr. Lukes asked.

“Yes,” said Mr. Lepage with a nod.

Earlier this week, Mr. LePage boasted that he would not set up a debate against Mr. Mills. bangor daily news.

“I eat her lunch,” he said.

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