Maine gov apologizes for 'Gestapo' remark
July 9th, 2012
02:59 PM ET
8 months ago

Maine gov apologizes for 'Gestapo' remark

(CNN) – Maine Gov. Paul LePage apologized Monday for referring to the Internal Revenue Service as the "Gestapo" in his weekly radio address over the weekend.

"It was not my intent to insult anyone, especially the Jewish Community, or minimize the fact that millions of people were murdered," the Republican governor said in a statement.

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In a speech Saturday blasting the Supreme Court's recent decision to uphold President Barack Obama's health care reform, LePage directly addressed the high court's ruling of the law's penalty as a "tax."

He argued that Congress could now use its taxation power to "compel behavior or lack thereof," and asked what the government would do next: "More taxes if we don't drive Toyota Priuses or if we eat too much junk food or maybe even pea soup?"

He continued: "This decision has made America less free. We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo – the I.R.S."

LePage's office posted his prepared remarks on his website, which includes the sentence about the Gestapo. It also links to audio of the speech, but the link fails to connect to the actual clip.

In his apology Monday, he expressed concern that the controversy had overshadowed the original intent of his address.

"Clearly, what has happened is that the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message," he said, saying the health care law "rations" care and could "negatively impact millions of Americans."

"We no longer are a free people. With every step that Obamacare moves forward, our individual freedoms are being stripped away by the Federal Government. This should anger all Americans," he said.

Democratic state lawmakers, seizing on the comments this weekend, had charged the governor with trivializing those who suffered under the Gestapo, the secret police force that operated under Nazi-controlled Germany.

House Democratic Leader Representative Emily Cain and Assistant Democratic Leader Senator Justin Alfond said the language was "intentionally offensive."

"This goes beyond political rhetoric," Cain said in a statement.

Her office added that LePage, who's known for making off-the-cuff statements in the past, read his speech from prepared remarks, and did not ad-lib the remark during his address.

"He was trying to pick a fight, he knew exactly what he was doing," Alfond told CNN, saying he was worried about how the comments may affect the state's reputation to outsiders.

"The governor should do something right for the wrong that he created."

LePage was elected in 2010 with tea party support. His office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

– CNN's Janet DiGiacomo, Steve Brusk and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care • Maine • Paul LePage • Supreme Court • Taxes
soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. JASON

    Isn't it hillarious if a private insurance drops you for being sick its called capitalism but if a government bereaucrat does it its called death panel. at this rate we will need to re-teach the GOP voters to breathe too

    July 9, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Byrd

    Apology not accepted.

    July 9, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. pflatman

    More intellectual sludge from the Republicans. Let's see: Insurance companies will get more business with the ACA, people who are already covered and continue to be covered will never pay a penalty (or tax, if you like, governor), and freeloaders will now have to pay. What's the problem, LePage?

    July 9, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    What Republicans will be doing is pushing a tax increase on their own citizens of their respective states. It will throw the entire health care system into chaos as they try to break the ACA by any means. One year you have a Republican governer who boycotts the ACA, while next term a Democrat buys into it, and back and forth we go. Chaos.

    BTW. I wouldn't worry about Gov. Rick Perry saying Texas will not participate. He'll forgat all about saying it by tomorrow this time. OOPS.

    July 9, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. ShawnDH

    Once you make a Nazi reference, you've officially lost the argument.

    LePage and the Republicans have obviously LOST.

    July 9, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Lando

    The guy looks like one to me...achtung...

    July 9, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. ReaganDem

    The problem is that health is already rationed to those who can pay for it and if you can it's watered down so much that you actual paying for nothing. The only way to have decent healthcare in this country is to be able to have enough money to opt out heath insurace and into a cadillac plan (all out of pocket).

    July 9, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    cobra

    All the left wing progressives can see is something is free for them, they don't give a s chit about what it does to the people that are going to be paying the bills. The deocratic party has disappeared as it has been hy jacked by the left wing that work for the government and there fore pay no federal taxes, argue that one dumbies, or the work for a union and they have no ambition to improve themselves, they just suck off the real Americans. The left wing always complains about the rich republicans but never a word about the democrats/socialist that just use them.
    *********************************************
    Just for the record, it was the REAGAN administration that first proposed not taxing the poor in order to give them more spending power: that , in turn, would help drive the economy. Also, with an aging population that is taxed on investments and not on income, that reduces the percentage of people paying INCOME TAXES, not sales tax, etc. All these wonderful ideas with the tax code are courtesy of the GOP: read it and weep, its your gang that have screwed us , not the Left.

    July 9, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Dan

    @Cobra,

    About your statement that federal employees don't pay taxes, I was in the Army for eight years and I have been a federal civil service employee for 10 years and I assure you, when I was a soldier I paid taxes and for the whole time I have been a civilian federal employee, I have paid taxes. By the way, change your name. Cobras are one of the prettiest types of snakes and you are dragging them through the mud using their name.

    July 9, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. sharon

    GOP......keep on making these comments.
    With everyone,yet another group of people are insulted.
    More will leave the GOP.
    More will be inclined to go to Obama.
    So,,,,,,,,,keep on.

    July 9, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Joshua Ludd

    Again, folks... the nazis weren't terrible because they provided healthcare.

    July 9, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. John The Electrician

    I got a rebate today from my health insurance. They said that they had to spend 80% of my premiums on health care or give me a rebate because of the ACA. $2.35 wohoo

    July 9, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. BeverlyNC

    I am so sick of Republicans making insensitive, racial, or demeaning comments and then either pretending they never said it, saying it "was taken out of context", or thinking some non-apolopy apology will make it go away.
    Sorry – you say it – you own and it shows the total lack of character, integrity, and leadership of the Republican and the very reason we should not be electing any Republicans come November. They hate the People, have betrayed us over and over, obstructed all legislation for jobs and economic recovery, and are traitorously gleeful when we get bad news on the economy. Republicans want America to fail for their sick political games. I want Republicans to fail so the People get our democracy and our rights as human beings back!

    July 9, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. jp

    Im jewish, and your apology is not accepted mr gov.....maybe you should be sent to a labor camp in NK before you start talking about death panels and the gestapo

    July 9, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. Nathan

    He should not have apologized for the truth. He used an unfortunate term for another disasterous policy of the Obama administration. Just another day of Obama trying to reach his goal of turning America into a European welfare state.

    July 9, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. SouthlandDenny

    He meant to say exactly what he said. That he's "apologizing" after the fact is an insult to intelligent Americans throughout the country. Obviously he thinks we're stupid ... which I suppose may be true since he was actually voted into office. Hopefully this will be his last term. Clean house, Maine!

    July 9, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    without looking let me guess, this guy is a Republican!

    July 9, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Ken from FL

    "Once you make a Nazi reference, you've officially lost the argument." And how many times have Libs referred to Republicans and George W Bush as fascists????

    July 9, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Bob

    Are all politicians stupid?? You have to be pretty stupid to make a public statement comparing anyone to the Nazis, yet politicians do it all the time. It doesnt matter how strongly you feel about a cause or how apt you think the analogy is – just dont do it (or you will end up the subject of one of the above articles.

    July 9, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    The Real Tom Paine wrote:

    Just for the record, it was the REAGAN administration that first proposed not taxing the poor in order to give them more spending power: that , in turn, would help drive the economy. Also, with an aging population that is taxed on investments and not on income, that reduces the percentage of people paying INCOME TAXES, not sales tax, etc. All these wonderful ideas with the tax code are courtesy of the GOP: read it and weep, its your gang that have screwed us , not the Left.
    --------------–
    Correct. Ronald Reagan sold his 50% tax cut for the wealthy idea to the rest of us by offering a piece of candy for the rest of us. He also offered up another piece of candy, "trickle down economics." He acknowledged that his tax cuts were overly generous for the wealthy, and he was paying for them out of Social Security funds that the middle class had built up over the decades....but he rationalized that the middle class would reap the benefits because the money would "trickle down" through the economy to the middle class and then the poor. My jaw dropped off when I realized that people were buying into the idea. That';s why Reagan is so highly regarded by conservatives as a genus. That's because he was.

    July 9, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. MakeThemEatCake

    If no one complained about it, would he have still apologized? You know, on his own, reflecting on what he said he acknowledges that it was out of line and insulting. Using that word did not cloud his message but it did highlight the sad state of politics today. Political leaders today use whatever language they can to enrage their base and then give some lame ass apology. Yes both sides are guilty but such rhetoric seems to be coming out of the republican camp more so than the democrat camp.

    July 9, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. SCOTO

    I aplogise. As a Republican I have no idea of history and as a Fox news fan I am compelled to compare everything Obama does to the Nazis

    July 9, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Mitzie

    Maybe the Republicans would be better off finding factual arguements as opposed to simply flinging the most insidious name they can think of for a program. "Facts" – wouldn't it be nice if people cared about them instead of this drivel.

    July 9, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Kurt

    Tea party fools on parade;-) If only the healthcare law had provisions for 'stupid'. In this case stupid is as stupid does;-)

    July 9, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    "LePage was elected in 2010 with tea party support."
    -----------------
    Oh, okay. Now I get it. The tea party explains everything. Say no more.

    July 9, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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