Rep. Steve Cohen stands by ‘Nazi’ comments

Chris Moody Contributor
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Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen stood by comments he made on the House floor late Tuesday night in which he used a Nazi comparison to discuss Republicans who call the health care law a “government takeover,” but insisted he was making a point about lying, not trying to insinuate that Republicans were Nazis.

“It wasn’t about Nazis, it was about lies,” Cohen told The Daily Caller Wednesday. “The biggest liar, the biggest political liar was Goebbels. Politifact called this the biggest lie of the year. If you don’t stand up and say lies are lies, they stand for the truth. Somebody has to come out and say they’re lies. Politifact did and I cited Politifact. I have no problem with that.”

In the wake of the recent shooting in Tucson, Arizona that severely injured Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed and wounded several others, Republicans and Democrats alike have called for members of Congress to take a more “civil” tone when discussing policy issues. For most members, that included at least a temporary hiatus on House floor hyperbolic comparisons. But Cohen insisted that his comments were perfectly in line with the “new tone” his colleagues were looking for.

“I think lying is uncivil,” he said, when asked whether he thought his comments were in tune with recent calls for civility. “It’s a big lie. And I think lies should not be tolerated. The ninth commandment, thou shalt not bear false witness, stands in Congress too.”

When asked if it was appropriate to compare political opponents to Nazis, who orchestrated the murder of more than 10 million people, he dismissed the premise, saying, “I don’t think anybody should have drawn that comparison.”

You decide. From Cohen’s comments Tuesday:

“They say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels. You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it.  Like blood libel.  That’s the same kind of thing, blood libel.  That’s the same kind of thing,” Cohen said. “The Germans said enough about the Jews and people believed it – -believed it and you have the Holocaust. We heard on this floor, government takeover of health care. Politifact said the biggest lie of 2010 was a government takeover of health care because there is no government takeover.”

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