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. DAVE

    where there's smoke, there's fire. I'd run from this 'Nazi enthusiast' as far as my little potential Austwitz legs would carry me

    October 9, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  2. Dave

    This must be his idea of "art" imitating life. This is just one reason why working middle class should Vote Democratic, and not
    trust republiCONS, and to keep Nazi "re-enactors" out of public office.

    October 9, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  3. Mario in Texas

    Him wearing Nazi garb and claiming he's not into Nazis is like a Klan member saying he's only wearing a sheet because he just did the laundry and there was no where else to hang it out to dry.

    October 9, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  4. Annie, Atlanta

    Does this idiot not know that the Nazis were one of the most reviled regime in the history of the world. And what kind of idiot thinks dressing up like one is ok, especially if he is running for public office. Do we really want our tax dollars paying his salary? Really? I'm beginning to wonder just how low we are going to go before we hit rock bottom.

    October 9, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    My question is, is who are the others shown in the photos (I count seven,total thus far)? Who are they affiliated with? What groups do they belong to? (I'll bet internet info is being deleted as we speak).

    October 9, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. Som

    I see Mr. Rudominer has taken one from the Republican swift boat play book. Touché, good sir!

    October 9, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. Judas

    Imagine that; a tea party Republican with a Nazi fixation. Does this really surprise anyone? I knew the brownshirts were rallying, but I had no idea they were being so open about their plans. You gotta hand it to the tea party though. They’re very resourceful in the way they somehow always manage to elevate CRAZY to a whole other level on an almost weekly basis. Nobody does it better.

    Anyway, I know Jim DeMint is a shoo-in for Hitler (they’re like twins that were separated at birth), but who do you think gets to be Eva Braun? Palin, Bachmann, O’Donnell or Angle? They’re all so perfect, it’s almost impossible to choose just one.

    October 9, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. Yossi Gestetner

    I 'get' his point and fasination, & I also read/study a lot the power of Hitler as a Propgandist and his military as a force. However, as a Jewish Republican I can say clear that such people should not have place in our political system as elected officials.

    October 9, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  9. Dale

    A republican in a nazi uniform, and this surprises who?

    October 9, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. Jim, Indiana

    To all of you out there contemplating a run for office in the future - Dont be photographed in a nazi uniform. It generally works against you in the general election.

    October 9, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  11. Como

    So will the Democrats "out" those among them who were Confederate uniforms during Civil War re-enactments? Bet not, how about exposing potential campaign fraud by Congressman Adler D NJ for having a Democrat operative infilitrate the NJ Tea Party and try to run on its ballot? Again CNN exposes itself as anti moderate, anti conservative and biased as a news source. Still carping about O'Donnell.

    October 9, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  12. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    He is a closet Nazi don't let him fool you.

    October 9, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  13. Walter Borton

    When a candidate for the Congress of the United States don's a Nazi Waffen SS Uniform for any reason, and CNN chooses NOT to run a photograph of him in same – after having run who-knows how many of Prince Harry in his Halloween Fancy Dress Ball get up, it's about time for CNN to stop posturing as a news organization and just yield to Fox. What a disgrace.

    October 9, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  14. Chimayosa

    I never knew my father's brother. He died in the Normandy Invasion and is buried in a cemetery in France. You'll pardon me if I don't have a lot of enthusiasm for Americans re-enacting the German side of WW II. As for racism, a German pronunciation of "Wiking" would be Viking, which I'm sure is the point. Love those Aryan warriors. Unfortunately, for Mr. Iott's and his fellow ignoramuses information, the Vikings were not Germans. They were mostly Danes.

    October 9, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. Michael Baker

    Another Whack-Job Tea Partier! it's just amazing. maybe the whole tea party is nothing but a big democratic party recruitment effort. That would be something.

    I mean, where do these people come from, and who tells them they could be viable representatives?

    Read the article from the Atlantic, especially the parts about the their groups claims about the "freedom-fighter" nazis and the actual historic record about those butchers that this candidate adores.

    October 9, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  16. Mac

    "common interest in the German side of the war and want to tell the story of the average combat soldier of the German military."

    Ok, but the SS (to be precise the Waffen-SS)? Personal bodyguard of Hitler and the Nazi Party?

    If it was the Wehrmacht you might get a pass, but the SS weren't event allowed to be integrated in to the regular army because they were Hitler's party tool. They are *not* like the 'average combat soldier'.

    There were plenty of regular and even elite units of the Wehrmacht you could choose to get the "story of the average combat soldier of the German military", but please, it isn't the SS.

    October 9, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  17. TOTAL FACT

    At least he hasn't dressed in an African Muslim suit posing as an African American to gain the White House. So what's the big deal. What is worse a Nazi are an African-Muslim who intends to destroy America and has a great start on doing it.

    October 9, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. Mike

    If you love America and playing dress-up, you could wear the clothing of a Revolutionary or Civil War soldier, a Rough Rider, a doughboy, a WWII marine Raider or in any of many other recognizable and honorable uniforms. But a Nazi? Who are you kidding? Only yourself. You don't belong in office. You belong in an institution for the criminally insane..

    October 9, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  19. K. Cantu

    Wow.....I mean does it get any better then this...ROFLMAO

    October 9, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  20. ehwilson429

    who is this guy? looks like a typical white man, must be Joe Biden, Jr.

    October 9, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  21. CedarRapids

    'Lott 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.
    Ok I have no issue with historical re-enactment but why on earth why you pick that specific a group that you wish to re-enact? The division was accused of war crimes and all sorts. And how do you re-enact a panzer division anyway? do they have loads of spare German tanks lying around they can use?

    October 9, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  22. Jd

    With the anti gay hate crime round ups being in the 100% democrat demographic. Enough said

    October 9, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  23. mat

    Hey, what do you know, another story about the DNC trying to falsely twist a story to deflect the conversation from the real issues. Like Jerry Brown accusing Meg Whitman, who did all the things liberals say you should do when hiring labor, of somehow making a "mistake". I seem to notice a theme here.

    October 9, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  24. Irrelevent

    As hard a CNN tries to help the Communist Party by digging up dirt on obscure opposition candidates, the Communist Democrats will be destroyed this November. Why doesn't CNN run an honest story on the Communist friendly Obama?

    October 9, 2010 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  25. aatami

    This guy can cry poor me all he wants but dressing up in Nazi SS uniforms and participating in a group that has 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." is a load of BS. First of all the SS were not the average combat soldier and more importantly, is this the kind of individual that we want representing American Democracy to the world? The cat's out of the bag here folks, this guy is a psycho teabagger, just like the rest of them.

    October 9, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9