Indiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence compared the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act to the terrorist attacks of September 11.
The comment was reportedly made during a a closed door GOP meeting, according to Politico.
The conservative congressman quickly apologized.
“My remarks at the Republican Conference following the Supreme Court decision were thoughtless. I certainly did not intend to minimize any tragedy our nation has faced and I apologize,” Pence said in a statement to Politico.
Pence is running against Democrat John Gregg for governor of Indiana.
UPDATE: The Gregg campaign has released a statement from the former Indiana House speaker ripping Pence for his reported comments.
“Congressman Pence is a perfect example of what is wrong with politics today,” John Gregg said. “He has the right to disagree with the Supreme Court, we all do. But for him to compare a disagreement over healthcare to the deaths of 3,000 Americans goes far beyond the bounds of common decency. To compare our legislative and judicial process to a terrorist attack is deeply disturbing and wrong.”
He owes a direct apology to the firefighters, first responders and the families of thousands of Americans that gave their lives on that September morning.
This morning, Congressman Pence showed us all that he is not ready to lead Indiana. Indiana needs a governor that will bring us together, not tear us apart. Hoosiers do not want his Washington style of politics. Congressman Pence is out of touch and clearly does not have the temperament or judgment Indiana needs. He just disqualified himself from this race.”
The Pence campaign has not responded to our request for comment, but did hold a conference call where the congressman apologized again. There still is no exact quote with the context of Pence's remarks, however.