Maine gov apologizes for 'Gestapo' remark
July 9th, 2012
02:59 PM ET
7 years 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. California

    Why aopologize, it's the truth.

    July 9, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. Jules

    The IRS only collects on the laws that are passed by the Congress – they do not collecting on anything on their own. Get a clue guys.

    July 9, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. puddintame1

    More hate fueled propaganda from the right. Nice vicious, little sound bites with nothing of substance or facts, and patheticly, minimal useful information.

    July 9, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. kenny

    Another idiot Republican speaks his true feelings. Remember people, a "Gaff" is when a politician speakes his feelings.

    July 9, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Sarah Palin started that rumor monster about "death panels." If people had any sense and actually thought about what she was saying, they would realize the inherent hypocrisy in that statement. Here's why. Palin's narrative goes this way, "Government health care will have death panels." Right?

    Well, if you would be under "government health care" under the "Obamacare", then that means that you do not have any insurance now. That leaves you with two possible futures, one with the ACA and one without. With the ACA you would be receiving health care, albeit under the watch of a "death panel." Without the ACA, you would not be receiving medical treatment and you would be laying in your bedroom dying for no better reason than a health care exec wants to pad his annual bonus.

    Given those choices, I think I would take my chances with Palin's death panels, which don't exist anyway.

    July 9, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. thinking outside the box

    You likened the IRS to the Gestapo but it was not your intent to insult anyone? Really? What, are employees of the IRS supposed to take that as a compliment?

    July 9, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Bootstomper

    Wow another intelligent Republican Governor.Perry,Brewer,Barbour.

    July 9, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. DC Johnny

    Ah, the lie that never gets old. Over and over again, we hear liberal drones repeat that the ACA only makes the system better by weeding out the freeloaders who go to the hospital and don't pay, thus accounting for our astronomical health care costs.

    If only this were true. It would mean that the new mandate/tax would only lead to LOWERED costs, right? Isn't that your assertion? Then explain how everyone's insurance has already risen substantially, with across the board double-digit increases coming forth in 2013?

    In as clear words as I can make it – How can our costs be going UP if all this law does is eliminate freeloaders?

    James Klimaski
    The Republican make it sound as if the IRS will be hounding the average citizen to enforce AHCA. This is far from the truth. Less than 2% of Americans may be affected. Under the present system it is now the American taxpayer who foots the bill for those who are in need of medical care, but have no health insurance. Would the Republican Governor rather have the doctors and hospitals just refuse to treat these people? Gee that would sound like advocating "Death Panels" at these hospitals. As for the "Gestapo" comment, the Governor needs to read some history, a common failing among Tea Party politicians..

    July 9, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. laurie

    80-90% of my family died in the death camps of Nazi Germany and both my parents were in concentration camps. I am a died in the wool liberal and a doctor who strongly supports the changes in healthcare passed. So I could not more disagree with Gov LePage's position. If Gov LePage wants to blame the IRS for a mandate first imposed and implemented by Republicans as an equitable approach to sharing the costs of healthcare, this would seem to be an attack on a department of our government that is merely implementing policy. If he wants to call them Gestapo, it would seem to be an illogical and unnecessary attack on the IRS. However worrying about this specific slur, which is not used uncommonly, would seem to be a tempest in a tea party teapot

    July 9, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. ShawnDH

    Yes, this is EXACTLY like the Holocaust.

    These people are deranged.

    July 9, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Wendy

    Vote these morons out!

    July 9, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Brook

    These Rep always thank inside their box. They think everthing is funny. Just look a can see that he is not right. Am sick of those Rep.......thinking that we are dump and lower thinkers. I hope in 2012 the joke will be on them........The courts has spoken Gov get over it............... If you really put on your thinkers cap those Rep are not for the people at all, we've watch the show for the last 2 years soon I hope the show will be over and they will not WIN.

    July 9, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. lies from the right but mostly hate

    Get rid of the patriot act and some of this nonsense will disappear.

    July 9, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. bluedogboy

    Gestapo, Nazi, Marxist, Communist............

    I didn't have to read the article to know it was a republican. Its standard vocabulary.

    July 9, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Tony

    Typical GOP demagoguery. The Tea Party and its deceitful and evil practices for the Koch Brothers continues.

    July 9, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Phil Thomas

    Why aopologize, it's the truth.
    This is a lie, this only effects 9 Million people, the free riders and most american's because of the and because of the Social Security tax credit. There are more people bringing home a bigger pay check under Obama than Bush, taxes are at 1950's levels under this President. The sad part is because this doesn't fit into a sound bite. a lot of vidiots repeat these right wing talking points you just mouthed off.

    July 9, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Sid Prejean

    1.Anybody who thinks this was the first time this guy has used a Nazi anaolgy, raise your hand.


    July 9, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. Sorensen

    It was not a "gaffe". The little, ugly man is obviously permanently stupid.

    July 9, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. KmcGee

    I live in Maine and this guy is a BOZO! He was elected with 39% of the vote and all over the state you see bumper stickers that say "61%" and "It's time to turn LePage". Clearly we Mainers need to have the election laws changed so that you must have a majority to win! He is a crude person who shoots from the lip and offends people all of the time.

    July 9, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. pink hase

    I think these Republicans need to get the facts straight before they start telling more lies. Watch all their noses grow.

    July 9, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Richard

    "It was not my intent to insult anyone, especially the Jewish Community. I guess the Romney people got too him. Cannot alienate the Jews. I would like to stop paying for my car insurance–what do you retreads have to say about that! You repukes want the insurance companies to dictate when, where, why, and from who we should buy insurance from. All rethuglicans care about is how much money their corporate masters can steal from the American people. Let businesses dictate our insurance needs, it sure has worked these last 50 years for American insurance companies. Keep Americans dumb and they will follow- their faux leaders.

    July 9, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. paul

    Did anyone ever notice that it is just one Republican after another making these "gaffes". The tea party group needs to be swept out and an elected officials that can work together and without "name calling" needs to be swept in. I am tired of this right wing rhetoric.

    July 9, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. wootdude

    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
    Not sure where you get your info, but you do realize that the military works for the federal government, right? And as someone who did 13 years with the Air Force, I can tell you that I paid federal income tax, and also state income tax. Whoever is telling you that federal employees don't pay taxes, well, you need to stop listening to them and do a little research of your own. And please define a "real" American.

    July 9, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Bessy

    My God, what is wrong with some of you people ? Tell me just how you think the country would be run if not for the citizens paying taxes.
    @ John H ATL Your statement is 100% right.
    Some of the folks who write into this blog are as dumb as bricks. They have no idea what the real world is about. I really wish that they would check their facts before they start screaming.
    No one, I repeat, no one is going to be taxed for health care, unless, they can afford to buy it but refuse to do so. Then they should be taxed because why should the rest of us have to pay for their care. This will only involve about 1% of the people in this country.

    July 9, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. Taylor

    .B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Really? Is that really the case? The new health law doesn't allow the IRS to do anything but collect the penalty for those that are able to buy insurance but don't. The question is would be better for a new agency to collect the and have broad inforcement abilities? I think the rules on the IRS and this penalty is just fine. If this governor doesn't like the law, then he should get it repealed and tell his state why those items like removing lifetime caps and making sure that anyone can get coverage should be repealed.

    if you read the bill if a person refuse to pay the fine or what ever you want the call it today, the IRS can not come after you at all, they have to let it go. See this penalty or fine in word only IRS can not fine you or levy or lien anything understand this....... people are getting upset over nothing.............

    July 9, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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