Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), a Tea Party favorite known for using intemperate and offensive language, delivered a speech over the weekend on the Supreme Court's health care ruling. Referencing the individual mandate, which his own party came up with, the far-right governor said, "We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo -- the I.R.S."
Yesterday, LePage issued a statement saying "the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message." But when a local reporter at WMTW asked the governor for comment in person yesterday, LePage didn't exactly sound contrite.
For those who can't watch clips online, LePage initially scoffed at the notion that anyone would be offended by his comparison of U.S. officials to the Gestapo, but when pressed further, the Republican added, "It was never intended to offend anyone and if someone's offended, then they ought to be goddamn mad at the federal government."
Asked if that constituted an apology, LePage walked away.
I guess we can add this to LePage's greatest-hits collection, which also includes a debacle over a labor mural, a push to roll back Maine's child-labor laws, tax cuts for the rich, and a pointless fight with the state's chapter of the NAACP.
A year ago, several Republican state legislators expressed "discomfort and dismay" with some of the governor's antics, but LePage doesn't appear eager to clean up his act.