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Maine Republicans call on Michaud to recant bogus ad claim; top Michaud staffer doubles-down on spurious stats

Mike Michaud

AUGUSTA – The Maine Republican Party on Wednesday demanded that Democrat gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud publicly recant false claims he made in his debut campaign ad — and address his campaign’s secrecy-cloaked cover-up attempt. Far from admitting error, a top Michaud campaign staffer has doubled-down on the false talking point.

As reported exclusively by The Maine Wire, Michaud’s first campaign video include the following incontestably false claim: “If you look at the Maine being one of the three states that’s actually lost jobs, uh, over the last year, the uncertainty, uh, is real.”

Following additional reporting from progressive bloggers and one mainstream newspaper confirming The Maine Wire’s fact-checking, Michaud’s campaign team quietly edited the incorrect statement from their ad. The ad, minus the spurious claim about job growth in Maine over the past year, is still the focal point of Michaud’s campaign website.

Executive Director of the Maine Republican Party Jason Savage sent out a statement Wednesday condemning Michaud’s political tactics and asking the long-time congressman to publicly recant his claims.

“Mike Michaud went out and made a demonstrably false claim to the people of Maine in his campaign kick-off video,” said Savage. “Michaud made a statement that was easily disproved, and when he got caught he chose to try to sneak out of trouble instead of taking responsibility.”

“It seems that Mike Michaud plans to run his campaign against Governor LePage by making loud, but false, public statements, and then quietly deleting them when nobody is looking,” he said. “Mike Michaud should publicly apologize today for misleading voters with this statement, and for trying to quietly delete it when voters were not looking.”

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have also called on Democrats more broadly to stop using phony statistics in their politically-motivated attacks.

As of Thursday, the Michaud campaign has made no attempt to publicly address its false claim or the stealthy removal of the claim from its debut political ad. In one instance, a top level campaign staffer has done quite the opposite.

In response to a Bangor Daily News blog from Phil Harriman, Lizzy Reinholt, Michaud’s communications director, posted a link to the original, uncorrected Pew report on Sept. 19. Wrote Reinholt, “Here is a link to the study that shows Maine is one of three states that lost jobs. These numbers were also reporters (sic) in the Bangor Daily News and in other papers throughout Maine.”

Although it had been thoroughly debunked by journalists and bloggers of all persuasions, Reinholt seemed insistent on reinforcing the bogus job claim. Rather than admit making a mistake, the campaign has now double-down, raising all kinds of questions about Michaud’s credibility, integrity and commitment to nice-guy politicking.

While making a false claim in a debut political ad is problematic, the greater problem has now become the Michaud campaign’s effort to sweep the mistake under the rug.

[RELATED: Matt Gagnon: Mike Michaud and an inconvenient fact...]

Said Savage, “”Maine voters and the Maine press need to keep a wary eye on the Michaud for Governor campaign. Maine people deserve an answer as to why Michaud won’t publicly acknowledge his claim was false.”

“Where is the accountability?”

S.E. Robinson
Maine Wire Reporter

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