Congressman Mike Pence backtracked immediately Thursday after comparing the U.S. Supreme Courts health care decision to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
His comments came in a closed-door House GOP meeting, according to a Politico report.
Pence is a former member of Republican leadership who is considered the frontrunner to become governor of Indiana.
He held a conference call with Statehouse reporters Thursday and immediately addressed the unfortunate remark, saying he didnt intend to make the comparison, but some people interpreted it that way.
My remarks following the Supreme Court decision were thoughtless. I didnt intend to minimize any tragedy our nation has faced, and I apologize.
Pences Democratic opponent for governor, John Gregg, reacted in a statement, saying Pence owes a direct apology to firefighters, first responders and families of the thousands of Americans who gave their lives that day.
Congressman Pence is a perfect example of what is wrong with politics today, he said. He has the right to disagree with the Supreme Court; we all do. But for him to compare a disagreement over health care 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.
Gregg went on to say Pence 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.
City Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th, tried to take a stand against the administration this week over it asking to spend nearly $10 million without a definite plan of where the money would come from.
Harper has made such arguments before, but he appeared to choose a losing battle in asking his colleagues to delay voting on upgrading the citys 911 emergency phone system.
While many of his colleagues agreed the city should have presented a more specific plan of how it would pay for such a large purchase, no member wanted to be seen as voting against such a critical public safety component.
I would hope in the future we would have more advance notice, Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, said of the expense before voting to support it.
Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, defended the need to progress the purchase by relaying the story of how he had to call the fire department this week after a gas leak was discovered at his house.
In the end, Harper withdrew his effort to delay the vote after it was apparent it would fail.
‘Cover your bases’
U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock has been chastised, ribbed and parodied for temporarily releasing four video responses to how the Supreme Court might rule on the health care law – before Thursdays ruling.
Mourdocks campaign recently briefly posted YouTube videos that showed the Indiana treasurer reacting to the justices then-pending decision to uphold or repeal all or parts of the law, or to not issue a decision.
MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews called the Republican candidates videos an epic gaffe. The Los Angeles Times said they were a contingency plan gone wrong. And New York magazine referred to Mourdock as a time traveler.
Faux political pundit Stephen Colbert sided with Mourdock and his presponse plan.
Its just smart to cover your bases while youve got the camera crew there, Colbert said on Mondays episode of Comedy Centrals The Colbert Report.
What are all the other possibilities? I mean, I think weve got to be ready for anything, Colbert said on his TV show before broadcasting his own series of videos.
Colbert stood in front of a brick wall – as Mourdock had done – to announce:
The court had declared George W. Bush is president again.
The court had decided that Carley Rae Jepsens Call Me Maybe is the song of the summer.
Justice Antonin Scalia revealed that the whole time, hes just been four raccoons in a black garbage bag.
The justices committed octuple murder-suicide, leaving only Clarence Thomas to rule. He has remained silent – a reference to Thomas consistent refusal to speak from the bench.
Justice Samuel Alito is quitting to become the bass player for Iron Maiden.
Mourdock spokesman Chris Conner said the campaign has no comment on Colberts parody of the candidate, who faces Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Conner said Mourdock is opposed to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As for the videos, he wrote in an email, as the Boy Scouts say, be prepared.
Republican Mike Pences second proposal in his campaign for governor focused on whether current Gov. Mitch Daniels administration has passed too many regulations.
The backhanded criticism was part of a plan to build the best small-business climate in American by calling for a timeout on new regulations until existing regulations can be reviewed.
At an Allen County event, Pence said the state has added almost 1,200 new regulations in the past four years.
Businesses need relief and they need it now, he said.
Pence quoted a Purdue University study showing there are 15 different hoops an entrepreneur has to jump through before they can even hire an employee.
But several newspapers pointed out many of the regulations he is referring to in the Indiana Register are emergency rules related to new Hoosier Lottery games. Others are rules for implementing new programs, such as the states educational voucher program.
And Democratic opponent John Gregg responded by saying: This is what happens when you are out of state and out of touch. You call Mitch Daniels an over-regulating job killer.
Pence said he would issue an executive order to declare a moratorium on new regulations and ask the Office of Management and Budget to review current regulations to ensure they are the least-costly approach and impose the least burden on job creation.
Indiana law already requires the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency and Indianas small-business ombudsman to report the economic impact of all new state regulations on small businesses.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, has been named to the Young Americans for Romney Leadership Team for Mitt Romneys presidential campaign.
Stutzman, 35, is among nine members of the committee, that will work with prominent young leaders from across the country to help spread the message about why Mitt Romney is the best choice for Americas future, according to a news release from Romneys campaign.
Romneys son Craig heads the team. Joining him and Stutzman are seven other Republican members of the House who are 40 or younger, including Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Aaron Schock of Illinois.
Journal Gazette Washington Editor Brian Francisco contributed to this report.