Top Republican Invokes Hitler's Name in the Debate Over the Filibuster
Sen. Rick Santorum issued a statement saying he ''meant no offense'' when he invoked the name of Adolf Hitler in remarks Thursday that defending the GOP's right to ban judicial filibusters.
''Referencing Hitler was meant to dramatize the principle of an argument, not to characterize my Democratic colleagues,'' Santorum, the No. 3 Republican in the GOP leadership in the Senate, said of his remarks Thursday.
Passions have been running high as senators argue over whether Republicans should allow the out-of-power Democrats to use Senate filibusters to effectively thwart President Bush from reshaping the nation's courts to his liking.
Republican John Warner and Democrat Robert Byrd are trying to avert that showdown, but Senate centrists have not been able to compromise on controversial nominees like Owen.
Byrd came under fire in March for comparing Hitler's Nazis and the Senate GOP plan to block Democrats from filibustering. Santorum, a Pennsylvanian, criticized Byrd's remarks at the time, saying the Nazi references ''lessen the credibility of the senator and the decorum of the Senate.''
But on Thursday, Santorum said that Democratic protests over Republican efforts to ensure confirmation votes would be like the Nazi dictator seizing Paris and then saying: ''I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.''
Santorum later said in a release that his remark ''was a mistake and I meant no offense.''
The Republican Jewish Coalition applauded the statement. ''Sen. Santorum is sensitive to the effect of his words and the inappropriateness of the analogy,'' Executive Director Matthew Brooks said.
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