October 9th, 2010
06:18 PM ET
10 years ago

Candidate responds to charge he dressed as Nazi

(CNN) - The Ohio Congressional candidate who has received national attention for a photo where he appears in a Nazi uniform, responded to the reports Saturday in a statement on his website.

Rich Iott, a Republican who is running in Ohio's 9th district, said in the statement that he has participated in military re-enactments since college and it is a "hobby" he enjoys with his son.

"Never, in any of my re-enacting of military history, have I meant any disrespect to anyone who served in our military or anyone who has been affected by the tragedy of war," the statement said. "I have immense respect for veterans who served our country valiantly, particularly those who fought to rid the world of tyranny and aggression by relegating Nazism to the trash heap of history."

According to the news magazine "The Atlantic," Iott is a member of Wiking, a group whose members re-enact the actions of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking that fought in World War II. But Iott's campaign would neither confirm nor deny his membership to CNN.

"The Atlantic" also posted a picture of Iott in which he appears to be dressed in a Nazi SS uniform along with an article with the headline "Why's a GOP Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?"

According to Wiking's website, it is a nonprofit group with a "common interest in the German side of the war and want to tell the story of the average combat soldier of the German military."

"Racism or any type of embracement of Nazi ideology of any kind is strictly prohibited by this re-enactment unit," the website reads.

But his political opponents were quick to condemn him as a "Nazi enthusiast."

"It's an unbelievably disturbing story here about this Nazi enthusiast," Ryan Rudominer, National Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said. "It's extremely telling that the NRCC (National Republican Campaign Committee) is recruiting and embracing candidates like this."

Iott was previously listed as one of the National Republican Congressional Committee's young gun contenders - a list of up and coming Republicans candidates - but the website no longer includes Iott.

The NRCC did not immediately return a request for comment.

FULL STATEMENT from Rich Iott: 

"Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am a proud American who loves this country and loves Freedom and those who have died fighting to preserve it. The despicable accusations and distortions of the truth that have been leveled at me, sadly exemplify why people have lost faith in the political process and with the media as well.

"Never, in any of my re-enacting of military history, have I meant any disrespect to anyone who served in our military or anyone who has been affected by the tragedy of war. I have immense respect for veterans who served our country valiantly, particularly those who fought to rid the world of tyranny and aggression by relegating Nazism to the trash heap of history. In fact, my respect for the military and our veterans is one of the reasons I have actively studied military history throughout my life.

"Historical re-enacting is a hobby enjoyed by millions of men – and women – around the world. I have been involved in historical re-enacting from many different eras since I was in college. When my son was old enough to participate, it became a hobby that the two of us could do together and I'm grateful for the father-son bonding we shared as we participated in the events."

"This election needs to be about issues, not false character attacks. Middle class families are struggling and honest people are out of work, which is why I hope my opponent will join me in condemning these blatant distortions and attacks and pledge to focus on the issues that Ohioans so desperately want Washington to address."


Filed under: 2010 • Ohio
soundoff (206 Responses)
  1. Americans vs Extremist

    So, this is the face of the "New Republicans Tea Party". We are "Warning" that the Republicans have became very extreme. The moderate Republicans are scared of them. We have to vote in the millions to win in Nov 2. This is not about being Democrats, Republicans, Independents this about being Americans first. It's Americans vs The Extremist. Who side are you on? I'm voting wtih Democrats this time. This 'Tea Party movement is too risky.

    October 9, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. mshare

    Amazing! Isn't it a Right wing meme now to call Obama a Nazi? And here, in plain sight for all to see, is a Republican who actually dresses up like one and re-enacts being an SS officer! How obvious is it that the fraud and lies that are being perpetuated and told by the Right about Obama are a disgrace? The sheer absolute hypocrisy!

    October 9, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. barry

    Leave it to the Dems to attack someone in a re enactment role for wearing a Nazi uniform. If he wanted the Dems support he should have dressed as a Muslim Terrorist. Silly Dems they go Bye Bye here in a few weeks. Nazi my as...

    October 9, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. Adam

    If you are going to attack this guy, attack him on the issues. I am a proud liberal, veteran, and also a former WWII re-enactor myself. This is a pretty low blow by the media. When you play Cowboys and Indians someone has got to play both sides.

    October 9, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. John in Cal

    I was at one time a member of the First Florida Confederate Calvary. Does that make me a racist. No. I also enjoy medieval reinactments. that doesn't make me a warmonger.I am an Independant voter who votes for the person he believes is best qualified for the job. Let's stop all this penny anti thing and put good hard questions to these canidates and then make up our minds without this BS.

    October 9, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. Rod Wilson

    The Nazi's would have loved George W. Bush, invading countries without provocation, Poland, Iraq, creating state agencies to protect the masses, the Gestapo, Homeland Security, yeap let these republican play Nazi's there is very little difference.

    October 9, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. Reality Check

    So what is the problem with the Rich Iott war reenactments? Sounds like he might watch the Military Channel sometimes too! Or go to the theater, watch television and movies-maybe even read books. All this is essentially is Cowboys and Indians. But it gets the guy outside, some exercise, and sometimes it is entertaining to indulge in seeing “what would’ve happened if…” Other people like golf.

    There are other reenactment groups-the Civil War has lots of reenactors, so does Colonial Williamsburg and Universal Studios. What do you have on this guy besides he is a geek?

    October 9, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    "pledge to focus on the issues that Ohioans so desperately want Washington to address." Well I'm sure someone else running for office has said that exact same thing...in fact all politicians have said that to members of their own state. You're full of sh** just like everyone else running for office is.

    October 9, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. mmm hmmm

    "pledge to focus on the issues that Ohioans so desperately want Washington to address." Well I'm sure someone else running for office has said that exact same thing...in fact all politicians have said that to members of their own state. You're full of sh** just like everyone else running for office is.

    October 9, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. concerned citizen

    A republican wearing a Nazi uniform...
    Surprise, surprise... NOT!

    October 9, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. German,IrishAmerican

    CNN and the rest of the MSM have pulled out all the stops to try to keep Democrats in power. Empowered with their continous lies about Palin, they now feel free to attack any conservative they feel is a threat to win. All the hype about O'Donnell and the witchcraft, but no word about her opponent proclaiming himself a bearded marxist and studying witchcraft in college. What would CNN say if Palin was a drug addict during her teenage and early college years like our current President? His illegal drug activity seemed to be of no concern to to the MSM, but "dabbling" in witchcraft as high school teenager for a senate candidate is a mojor story? No wonder Fox News is 15 points ahead in the ratings.

    October 9, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Charlie in Maine

    I dressed up as the devil once for halloween and I am not satanic. Cut the guy a break. Find out what he wants to do. If he is just a "cut my taxes" Republican he might actually do some good as part of the the "loyal opposition" If he is a knuckle draggin get out of the UN , teach creationism in school. repeal civil rights tea bagger,(like the GOP has running for Governor in my state) then don't vote for him. It is really that simple.

    October 9, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. Mobius007

    I suspect that there is more to this story, and I anticipate we'll hear added details of his Nazi interests in the future.

    October 9, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. Christine O'Rangel

    Wow a GOP dressed like a Nazi..................I'm shocked...

    October 9, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. Dave, Illinois

    I have been a Civil War re-enactor as both a Union and Confederate soldier. When I was a Johnny-Reb, two black men were in my regiment. Do you think they were Confederate sympathizers? Rich is simply doing what many of us do – use re-enacting as a living history lesson to gain perspective. This kind of gotcha crap is wrong on all sides.

    October 9, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  16. D. Bunker

    This will probably endear him further to the teatards. The others, not so much.

    October 9, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  17. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    No matter what this cretin says -It's bad policy, it's bad taste, and despite what he'll claim, it' a reflection of his consciousness, like it or not! And it reflects a lot of the sentiment in the party, too, whether they'll admit it or not, and they won't!

    October 9, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  18. Real American

    Reenactments of Nazi era, please your a freaking idiot. Who the hell you think you are saying you are true to Veterans and so on. You need to drop out of that race and let real Americans help run this country. If you want to feel like a real German go to Germany and find a house near the death camps so you can see them every day and wear your uniform and feel a part of something you Nazi!! A hobby you enjoy with your son huh you should be ashamed.

    October 9, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. 8toman

    "I've always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that's incredible."

    October 9, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  20. Jay

    The politicians are slim bags when trying to bring down an "opponent". It's not an opponent (like you guys are really reading this), it's a fellow politician running for an office on Team USA! When election day comes , is it truly a democratic process? No, because I have to choose 1 out of 2 or 3 candidates who all promote dishonesty. How do we get honest candidates who are for this country and not their personal interests (honestly) on tje ballot in November?

    October 9, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. Tinkers Dam

    Somebody has to dress up like a Democrat. Everybody can't be a republican.

    October 9, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  22. Rick

    Even during World War II, America was infested with Nazi sympathizers of this sort. Charles Lindbergh was one. These people know nothing about history and do not understand the impact of their stand.

    October 9, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  23. Mike Mazzla

    So not only is he a racist hes also a freaking geek....a military reenactment club LOL

    October 9, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  24. terry, va

    No problem with military re-enactments. He's probably done confederate re-enactments too. When you have something that ties him to a supreme race theory that is a story. The dumbocraps are desperate to talk about anything but the issues. Unemployment at 9.6% with real unemployment at 17% plus. One in 7 in poverty and 42 million on food stamps which is a 20% increase since Obummie took over. Pelosi said that food stamps and unemployment create jobs and are a good thing. Well, hell let's all quit working and paying taxes and the country will be booming !!! Pelosi and Obummie are fools.

    October 9, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  25. Mick

    The only story here is the attempted character assassination of Mr. Iott.

    Are those that play the British or Confederates during re-enactments Nazi's too?

    October 9, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
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