LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Lewiston Mayor-Elect Bob Macdonald formally apologized Thursday for comments he made just after winning office on Tuesday.
Macdonald told reporters that his opponent's campaign was spreading rumors about him and threatened that they'd get a surprise on Thursday.
The surprise, he said Thursday, is that he's a nice guy and he wants to work with anyone who's interested in improving the city. He said the only payback his campaign adversaries will receive is knowing that he's not a bad guy, and that he really is willing to work with anyone to make lewiston a better place.
Macdonald said, "This is Bob Macdonald. Happy face. And I will, from this time on until I end my time in office, be Bob Macdonald, happy face, the face of Lewiston."
Macdonald said he sees his term as a time of transition for the city, setting a foundation of building up business for the next generation. He wants anyone with ideas and business expertise to call him or city hall.
"My goal is to be taking away business from Portland," Macdonald said. "I want this to be a place where people want to come and look to come."
Macdonald also got choked up, talking about how he wants veterans with post traumatic stress disorder to get the help they need. He said too many of them don't take advantage of the VA.
"Seek help," Macdonald said. "There's nothing to be ashamed of. It's just like a purple heart, but they don't have a medal for it. And I just ask that that message get out. Because it's really concerning. And, I'll tell you, I'm getting a little emotional here."
Later, emotions spilled over in a different way, as Abdi Fatah Ahmet, an immigrant who says he's a pharmacist and landlord in the city, accused Macdonald of running an anti-immigrant campaign, seizing on stereotypes that immigrants come to Lewiston to live off welfare.
Ahmet said, "Are you going to apologize to people you offended? Like me? Are you going to apologize?" Macdonald replied, "I will apologize to the people that work. I will apologize to the people who have a job. If you thought that's what I said -- I didn't say that. But if you thought that's what I said, I'm sorry."
Ahmet told reporters he was not satisfied with that answer. "We didn't get an apology," Ahmet said. "We didn't get the apology we asked for and we still ask for an apology from him."