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Sen. Brown apologizes for Hitler, Stalin references in speech

The Ohio senator who, during a defense of unionized labor on the House floor, argued that dictators like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin opposed unions, apologized Friday.

On Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) made a speech on the House floor in which he criticized Republicans for trying to infringe on workers’ benefits. During the speech Brown said that tyrannical dictators like Stalin, Hitler, or recently ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak didn’t like unions. Brown quickly cautioned that he didn’t mean to compare Republicans to Hitler.

According to The Columbus Dispatch of Ohio, Brown released a statement on Friday saying that he regretted the remarks. He said that he continues to feel that unions are entirely beneficial but regretted citing the dictators.


“But in speaking about this, I should not have mentioned the hostility of tyrants like Hitler to unions,” Brown said in the statement. “I don’t want my mistake to distract from the critical debate in Ohio, and I apologize for it.”

A number of controversial bills in state legislatures that would roll back some union benefits like collective bargaining rights have sparked a national confrontation between Democrats and Republicans. Protests over the bills continue in those states with Wisconsin having the longest running and largest protests. In an effort to block the bills’ passage, Democratic legislators in Wisconsin and Indiana have fled their respective states.

Last week, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) said abolishing collective bargaining rights would be akin to re-establishing slavery. Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said that collective bargaining doesn’t belong in representative governments.

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