Mural depicts Maine governor as Klansman, Mickey Mouse

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[September 08, 2016]  (Reuters) - A graffiti artist lampooned Maine Governor Paul LePage in a mural depicting the two-term Republican wearing a Ku Klux Klan cape and hood, two weeks after he left a profane voicemail for a Democratic lawmaker he believed had called him a racist.

The mural, which appeared over the weekend in Portland on a wall where graffiti is allowed by law, has been repainted to remove the reference to the white supremacist group, with the hood replaced with Mickey Mouse ears and a new caption "no hate" joining the existing "racist homophobe moron governor," in which the word "governor" was struck through.

Lawmakers from both parties last week contemplated calling a special session to rebuke LePage, whose term extends through 2018, for the message, in which he called a lawmaker a "little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker."

That effort collapsed with the two sides unable to agree on the details of how long the special session would last or what its precise objectives were, with Democrats calling for impeachment, further than Republicans were willing to go.

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"I think it was a lot of work but I think a lot of people are pretty upset about how things are going," Falmouth resident Emily Hickey told Maine CBS affiliate WGME as she viewed the mural.

Tom Poulin, of Oakland, Maine, said he believed the painting was in poor taste.

"You can have your personal thoughts about somebody but to say them like that is a little ridiculous," he told WGME.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, a Democrat, said on Twitter that he had asked city officials to take down the mural.

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Maine Governor Paul LePage speaks at the 23rd Annual Energy Trade & Technology Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl/File Photo

"As much as we are all infuriated by the governor's statements, equating his language to the systemic terrorism and murder Grand Wizards inflicted upon African Americans (and Catholics) trivializes the KKK," Strimling said.

A spokeswoman for LePage did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

LePage has faced a flurry of criticism over the past two weeks for saying that members of minority groups from out of state were responsible for the lion's share of the heroin trade in Maine. He drew further criticism after the widely circulated voicemail.

(Reporting by WGME via Reuters Video News; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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