Rep. Frank slams town hall foe in Mass. debate

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NEWTON, Mass. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Barney Frank slammed his Democratic primary challenger and former town hall foe for comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler during a debate Tuesday night.

He did, however, refrain from comparing talking with his opponent, 29-year-old Rachel Brown, to “arguing with a dining room table,” which he infamously did during a town hall meeting last year. But Frank said he stands by his previous remarks.

“When people make comments that seem wrong and inappropriate I will say so,” he said. “Many people don’t understand the revulsion many of us feel when Hitler is tossed around lightly as a term.”

Frank had been asked by Brown about the “Nazi policy” of health care reform, which drew the sharp retort from the 15-term congressman. Brown, a follower of economist Lyndon LaRouche, said that inspired her to run in the Sept. 14 primary for the state’s 4th Congressional District. She said she proved on Tuesday that Frank’s assertion at the town hall meeting was wrong.

“I hope I did better than a piece of furniture,” Brown said after the debate.

Frank criticized Brown during the debate for her supporters holding up signs showing a picture of Obama sporting a Hitler mustache. He also dismissed her support for the human colonization of Mars.

“The notion of getting to Mars in three to seven days is frankly wacky,” Frank said. “You are not going to create any jobs for Americans on Mars.”

Brown consistently attacked Frank for attempting to regulate the financial industry while maintaining close ties to Wall Street firms.

“Mr. Frank has represented Wall Street every step of the way,” she said.

Brown argued that the federal government should reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which created separation between investment and depositary banks.

She called for the impeachment of Obama and compared him to Roman Emperor Nero.

“He is psychologically a ticking time bomb,” she said.

When the candidates were asked to say something nice about each other, Frank said he admired Brown for facing the challenges that come with running for political office.

“I support his spunk,” Brown said in return.

Republicans Sean Bielat, a 35-year-old ex-Marine and businessman from Brookline, and Earl Sholley, a 62-year-old Norfolk businessman, are seeking their party’s nomination in the primary.

Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is considered the favorite in the district, which stretches from the well-heeled Boston suburbs of Newton, Wellesley and Dover to the working-class communities of Fall River and New Bedford.