Politics

Keeping them honest: Anderson Cooper takes Steve Cohen to the woodshed over Nazis/Goebbels remarks

He’s not going to be giving the keynote speech at a Tea Party convention anytime soon. But he did go to bat for the Republican Party at a time when a lot of media personalities are calling for lower-volume political discourse.

On Wednesday night during his “Keeping them Honest” segment, CNN “AC360” anchor Anderson Cooper took on Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen, who had compared Republicans to Nazis in a debate about the repeal of Obamacare on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Cooper offered his thoughts and fired these questions at Cohen:

  • Representative Cohen, how can you think that it’s appropriate for a member of Congress on the floor of the House to compare the statements made by Republicans about health care to lies about Jews told by Joseph Goebbels and other Nazis? How is it appropriate?
  • If you weren’t trying to compare them to Nazis, you wouldn’t have mentioned Nazis. I mean, you said their statements on health care are the same kind of lies that Nazis told.
  • But Democrats have been very critical when people on the right to use Nazi imagery to describe President Obama or Democrats. I just don’t understand why you think it’s OK to bring in Nazis when you’re talking about Republicans.
  • So, you’re standing by this? You don’t think it’s inappropriate in any way?
  • But the fact — the fact of the matter is you are comparing them to Nazis. I mean, you’re saying their tactics are the same tactic as Nazis. And, I mean, the National Jewish Democratic Council has come out and says, your comments are abusive Holocaust rhetoric. They say that invoking the Holocaust to make a political point is never acceptable.
  • But — OK, but, again, why — that’s reprehensible, and, yet, you use Nazi imagery to describe …
  • You could say any pop — you could compare them to any populist movement. Comparing them to the KKK seems incendiary. I mean, it seems deeply offensive to hundreds of thousands of people who are in the Tea Party.

Watch:


Initially Cohen backtracked somewhat, but said his comparisons were justified.

“Well, appreciate because it was the same process,” Cohen said. “Obviously, I don’t think Republicans are Nazis, but they use the same means that Goebbels used, which was to have a short, concise idea, and repeat it over and over and over again.”

And in the end, Cohen told Cooper he wouldn’t say that again but didn’t say it was wrong either.

“I won’t say it again, but I was right,” he said.