10/12/2010 04:21 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Maine Gov. Candidate Apologizes For Posing In Picture Labeling Bush 'International Terrorist'

BANGOR, Maine -- The Democratic candidate for governor of Maine is apologizing for posing with a photo of former President George Bush that labeled him as an "international terrorist."

The campaign of Libby Mitchell issued the apology following a Monday night debate in Bangor in which her Republican opponent Paul LePage accused her of being a hypocrite and disrespectful of the former president.

In her statement, Mitchell said she regretted "the possible disrespect" the photo "may show to the office of the President. I am very sorry for having posed with this item."

The Maine Democratic Party called the photo lighthearted. The party called LePage, who has been criticized for saying he would tell President Barack Obama to "go to hell," desperate.

According to Maine's WCHS:

The Democrats also explained the origin of the photo. They say it was taken in a private home and neither the home nor the photo belong to Mitchell. They say the owner of the photo received an official letter from President Bush and applied the "International Terrorist" sticker himself.

"Paul LePage is beyond desperate," said Arden Manning, Victory 2010 campaign manager, according to WMTW. "Instead of focusing on the issues that Mainers care about or conducting himself in a manner befitting the office he is running for, LePage is digging through old photos and taking them completely out of context. The truth is Paul LePage publicly cursed at the president of the United States and publicly cursed at reporters."

But the Maine GOP says that the picture shows her to be "extreme":

"Libby Mitchell showed herself in the worst of all lights tonight," Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party, told WMTW. "Her lecturing was hypocritical, her denial was untruthful, and her actions captured in this photo show her to be as extreme as it gets."

Click here for a full resolution version of the picture.