The Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Maine is under fire from Republicans for promoting a video containing a rap song that makes a sexual reference to Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
Rep. Michael Michaud’s campaign says it did not pay for or oversee the contents of the video, and is lashing back out at Republicans for making it a campaign issue.
But the trouble started when Michaud retweeted the short video, a documentary-style clip on his campaign that was made by a Maine multimedia company.
The video includes a song by local rapper Spose. It lyrics include the line: "I'm the King of Maine. I've got Susan Collins giving everyone brain" -- a slang term for oral sex.
The Maine Republican Party on Friday denounced the video and demanded Michaud apologize to Collins and “all Maine women” for his “endorsement” of the video.
“It is absolutely appalling and completely inexcusable that Michael Michaud would make a video with such a vulgar reference to Susan Collins,” party spokeswoman Deborah Sanderson said in a statement. “In his quest to win votes from a younger generation, Congressman Michaud has gone way over the line by participating in this depraved insult to Maine’s senior senator.”
Michaud's campaign, though, says it wasn't immediately aware of the lyric's meaning, and has since asked the production company to take the video down.
While the state GOP claimed the video was a “collaboration” with the Democrat’s campaign, Michaud denied it.
“The Michaud campaign did not produce the video or have any control or advance knowledge of its contents,” the candidate tweeted.
His campaign and its allies, meanwhile, are accusing Republicans of “gutter politics” for making an issue of it.
“This is just rank dishonesty. Period. It’s really a shame that at a time when so many important issues are facing the state of Maine, the Maine GOP has resorted to outright lying in trying to tear down Mike Michaud,” Ben Grant, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, said in a statement.
Spose appears to be no fan of Michaud’s Republican rival, Gov. Paul LePage. According to The Maine Wire blog, the rapper tweeted a picture of himself posing with Michaud. In the tweet, he called the sitting governor an “a—hole.”
Polls show Michaud and LePage in a tight race.
The Portland Press Herald reports that Michaud wasn’t the only one who may have missed the meaning of the sexual innuendo in Spose’s “King of Maine” lyrics -- and that state Republicans also had promoted the video.
According to the newspaper, Bangor Daily News blogger Alex Steed, who made the video with his production company, said Michaud had “nothing to do with it” -- though Republicans argued that the Democrat’s staff nevertheless gave him access to the candidate and his team.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.