Liberal rep. compares Tea Party to KKK in fundraising pitch

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), a liberal firebrand known for his controversial comments, compared the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan in an email to supporters that features a photo of a burning cross.

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In an interview with the Rev. Al Sharpton, quoted in the fundraising email, Grayson declares that "the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan."

He also charges that the "ultimate Tea Party Republican desire" is to "bring about the End of Days."

The comments were blasted to Grayson's supporters in a Monday email that also features a picture of a burning cross, with two KKK members in the background, forming the first letter T of the words "Tea Party." The KKK is known to burn crosses near communities they hope to intimidate.

"Now you know what the 'T' stands for," reads the caption on the photo.

Clicking the photo directs supporters to a contribution page.

The National Republican Congressional Committee immediately hammered Grayson for the email, with NRCC spokesman Matt Gorman calling for the congressman to apologize.

“There’s no excuse for the hateful words and imagery used by Congressman Grayson. House Democrats should swiftly and strongly condemn him and return the money he has raised for them. This hate-filled rhetoric has Americans fed up with Washington,” Gorman said.

The committee is already seeking to tie the jarring imagery to other endangered Democratic incumbents, namely fellow Florida Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, whom an NRCC spokeswoman called upon to condemn the email.