AUGUSTA – The Maine Democratic Party is calling on Larry Gilbert, Paula Silsby, and Eliot Cutler to retract their inaccurate and misleading statements about Congressman Mike Michaud. In a blast email today, paid for by and sent on behalf of the Cutler for Maine exploratory campaign, Gilbert and Silsby claimed that Congressman Mike Michaud does not support background checks. Michaud has publically supported them and is currently working with some of his colleagues in the House and Senate to find a compromise on the issue that can pass both bodies.

Michaud support on the issue is no secret. In fact, his stance on the issue was made clear in a recent Bangor Daily news article

“Michaud spokesman Ed Gilman said the 2nd District congressman supports strengthening background checks and that following the failure of the Senate bill, Michaud ‘has been looking for ways to advance the issue in a way that will pass both chambers of Congress.’

‘He recently met with victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in order to hear about their experience and why they want to see change,’ said Gilman in a response to questions emailed by the Bangor Daily News. ‘He also met with Sen. Joe Manchin and Congressman Mike Thompson, a leader on the issue in the House, to discuss options for moving forward. He remains committed to working with his colleagues in the House and Senate to develop and pass legislation that would strengthen background checks.’”

Maine Democratic Party Chair Ben Grant released the following statement:

“As staunch advocates for background checks, Larry Gilbert and Paula Silsby know this is an important, controversial and extremely politicized issue, which is why I am so disappointed that they would sign their names to such an inaccurate statement that will do nothing but distract from the vital issues at hand. Congressman Michaud, on the other hand, is doing what he does best. He’s leaving politics at the door and quietly working behind the scenes to bring Democrats and Republicans together to find a solution everyone can agree on. The U.S. Senate failed to pass its background check bill, and Congressman Michaud is now providing the kind of leadership Maine needs as he works to find a solution.

“In contrast, Mr. Cutler had ample opportunity to help Maine lawmakers pass a state version of the background check bill, but to my knowledge he was nowhere to be found. He didn’t testify, send an email, write an op-ed or lobby on behalf of the bill in any way until after it was virtually dead in the legislature. I’m sure, though, that all the supporters of the bill who worked so hard to try to get it passed are very appreciative of his email today expressing support after all the votes have been taken.   

“Finally, it’s staggeringly ironic that one of Mr. Cutler’s first public missives in his exploratory campaign involves an inaccurate, negative attack. Perhaps while Mr. Cutler decides if he is going to enter the race for governor, it would be wise for he and his campaign to heed his own words. Not only did he decry negativity in campaigning at great length in the 2010 campaign, but just a few months ago he said in a public speech that, ‘We need to pay better attention to our words and behavior in public discussion and debate.’ I would think that this kind of careless error over such an easy-to-verify issue would be the kind of thing he was talking about.”

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