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Duval GOP in controversy over Obama/Hitler comparisons at Tea Party

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The Republican Party of Duval County is backing away from their promotion of an event that featured numerous controversial comparisons of President Barack Obama with German Dictator Adolf Hitler. The event, a Tea Party held at the Jacksonville Landing on July 2, was organized by the First Coast Tea Party. However, the Duval County Republican Party promoted the event with e-mails that stated “Paid by Republican Party of Duval County.” Duval Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry also broadcast live from the event on the party’s weekly radio broadcast hosted by AM 1320.
The event, which was attended by Florida state Reps. Lake Ray, Charles McBurney and Mike Weinstein and Florida state Sen. Stephen Wise, drew about 1,000 people to the Jacksonville Landing. Local party officials were on stage, along with numerous members of the Jacksonville business community, including Jay Fant of First Guaranty Bank.

While partisan rhetoric at any rally is expected, controversy has arisen over numerous signs that were prominently displayed at the gathering, including two that featured Barack Obama in Nazi garb. One sign, in fact, had altered Obama’s appearance to resemble Hitler. Other signs compared ACORN, the community organizing group accused of voter registration irregularities, with the SS—the Nazi organization responsible for enacting the Holocaust and the group responsible for most of the crimes against humanity committed by the Third Reich.

Several local GOP activists privately expressed shock that elected officials would be seen at any event that featured comparisons of Obama with Hitler. What surprised some of them the most, however, was the fact that the Duval County Republican Party would feature pictures from the event—complete with Obama/Hitler comparisons—on their Facebook fan page.

While the party has stated that they did not officially “plan” the event, the fact that they heavily promoted it and featured the controversial pictures on their website, has left them open to the ensuing controversy.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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