Maine Governor Paul LePage apologized on Monday for calling the US Internal Revenue Service the "Gestapo" during criticism of President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

The Republican governor compared the tax agency to Nazi secret police during a weekend radio address on healthcare. "You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS," he said, according to local media reports.

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Democrats criticized the governor and called the remarks offensive.

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

"Obamacare is forcing the American people to buy health insurance or else pay a tax," he said.

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