Maine gov apologizes for 'Gestapo' remark
July 9th, 2012
02:59 PM ET
12 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. jim

    We need a council of rabbis or some such self-important group to tell us which words are not covered by the First Amendment because they might offend some jew somewhere. Also which parts of WWII we should remember and HOW we should remember them, lest we be prosecuted for remembering something that didn't happen or not remembering something that did.

    July 9, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. divejoy

    Can I sue my State because Scott doesn't want to implement ObamaCare and thus deprive me of my Heath benefits?

    July 9, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Bill

    Some people insist on being offended. Unintentionally or not.

    July 9, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. Kweso

    LePage is a French name so for someone of French ancestry to invoke the Gastapo concept in the context of a political debate shows his total ignorance and arrogance. You just can't fix stupid.

    July 9, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. JJC

    A RepubliKKKan saying something reeally stupid and inaccurate? What are the chances?

    July 9, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. ATL Guy

    These Republicans feel they can say anything they want under the sun and then say they've misspoken. Then they want to villify Obama for any mistakes he's made. Hypocrites.

    July 9, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. rs

    The GOP war on government workers continues. Why is the GOP so against the U.S. Government and especially those who work each day for the rest of us. It is simply unpatriotic!

    July 9, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. MakeThemEatCake

    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?"

    ?? See last entry. Political rhetoric to enrage their base. What if Roberts had used the word fine instead of tax? EPA levies fines on companies (and individuals) that don't adhere to environmental regulations. Just as there are regulations that outline the rules you, as a company, need to follow whenever your business generates, or will ever generate, a hazardous by-product, there is a regulation that outlines the insurance coverage needed by everyone that would ever need medical treatment. To those that feel they are being forced to buy something they don't want, don't get sick. If you do, get a chair, sit in the shade somewhere and beg for money to pay your bills. why should I pay for your lack of foresight when you decided to not insure yourself.

    July 9, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. solowd

    tea party elected clown says something dumb, big shock

    July 9, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Your Panties

    The governor should've never made such a stupid remark.

    July 9, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. blahahahaaaa

    Come on people, many of us have been paying "sin taxes" for years. We pay a sin tax when we fill up for gas... it pays for the roads we are destroying... we pay a sin tax when we buy alchol.. to pay up for drunk drivers... we pay a sin tax when we buy cigarettes... to save us all from cancer. Republicans acting like this is something new, and unheard of are either really really stupid, or they are trying to fool you...I know, between those two choices, it's a toss up.

    July 9, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Tim

    I just need to trash talk the republicans...they do it for me.

    July 9, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Tim

    What kind of apology is this? To whom is he apologizing?

    July 9, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. Ed1

    Same old crap taken out of context what it amounts to is the IRS are just bullies and if you don't know that then you must not pay taxes like 49% of the people now.

    Isn't it time to hold all of our elected officials accountable with how they spend our tax dollars from the President on down period. You shouldn't be allowed to spend more than you take in and if that means cutting giveaway programs then do it. Social Security and Medicare are programs I have paid in to and the people who do not pay any of the taxes then they shouldn't be allowed and claim any.

    I saw where last year there were $14 Billion dollars of unemployment claims that were fraud. Go after them and get our tax dollars back along with the people who don't pay any taxes and continue to want more fro doing nothing.

    Enforce all of our laws not just the ones that will get votes for you.

    July 9, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Patriot

    Another Republican says something stupid and this is news?

    July 9, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. beevee

    How did maine elect such an insesitive moron as governor?

    July 9, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. bp

    It is deeply offensive when anyone invokes Hitler or anything associated with him during normal political debate. To do so trivializes actual genocide and homicidal security forces.

    Hate Obama or Bush all you want, but to compare either of them and their administrations to Hitler and the Third Reich is an insult to the millions of people who died as a result of industrial-scale programs of mass murder. Disagreement over government spending priorities does not rise to the same level.

    July 9, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Jackson

    If a Democrat had said this, FOX would have been all over it. But, it wasn't, so FOX will ignore it.

    July 9, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    One word: RESIGN.

    July 9, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Norm

    Ugly Republicans.....
    So vile...
    So obnoxious......

    July 9, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. ScreenAngel

    Too bad the IRS can't do anything about Mitt's tax haven accounts in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Bahamas (and wherever else he has money sheltered and hidden.) I'm sure everyone attending those fundraisers in the Hamptons over the weekend has similar tax sheltered offshore accounts, and that the amount of money they have offshore is far more than anyone knows. And these people honestly believe they are patriotic Americans while avoiding paying taxes. Hypocritical, at the very least.

    July 9, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. AgrippaMT

    Governor LePage is obviously a racist, Republican swine.

    July 9, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. commentable

    lost in all of the arguing is the fact that the health care law has specific language in it to not have any enforcement mechanism for those who wont pay the new tax

    July 9, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Rosslaw

    Isn't this the right-wing pansy who took down a mural from the Maine dept. of labor saying that it caused businessmen to curl up on the floor in a fetal position, sucking their thumbs and mumbling incoherntly? Free people? His was the type of "art" control more at home in the People's Republic of China than Maine. I guess he'll next have some PRC cyber experts consult on how to shut this baby down as well to avoid any anguish for his gentlemen friends.

    July 9, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. some jew somewhere

    "because they might offend some jew somewhere" Stick it up your nose, redneck. That offensive enough for ya?

    July 9, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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