Brown issues apology for Hitler remarks
March 5th, 2011
12:29 PM ET
11 years ago

Brown issues apology for Hitler remarks

(CNN)—Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is apologizing for invoking Hitler and Stalin on the Senate floor.

"I should not have mentioned the hostility of tyrants, like Hitler, to unions," he said in a statement released Friday. "I don't want my mistake to distract from the critical debate in Ohio, and I apologize for it."

The statement came a day after Brown said dictators Hitler and Stalin didn’t want unions while railing against legislative measures proposed in Ohio and Wisconsin that would limit collective bargaining rights for state workers.

“I am passionate about fighting for the middle class,” he said Friday. "Ohio's teachers and nurses and police and firefighters are facing the loss of their collective bargaining rights, and I think that's wrong. But in speaking about this, I should not have mentioned the hostility of tyrants, like Hitler, to unions. I don't want my mistake to distract from the critical debate in Ohio, and I apologize for it.”

State workers and supporters have traveled to the state capitols in both Madison, Wisconsin and Columbus, Ohio to protest the controversial measures that were introduced as cost-cutting methods to battle budget deficits in both states.

Filed under: Ohio • Sherrod Brown
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Huckabee is slandering women like his wife is a beauty queen, have you seen her. If you have it's hard to tell whether it's Mr. or Mrs. Huckabee.

    March 5, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Crooked Bridge

    Why is it that politicians never seem to understand that using Hitler's name in order to make a point never works out for them. Speaks to incredible lack of judgement and unwareness.

    March 5, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Byrd

    Brown may have apologized, but that doesn't mean his remarks weren't factually correct. Hitler and Stalin did despise unions and unions were one of Hitler's first targets, along with intellectuals, gays, Jews, Gypsies or anyone else he just didn't like. Sound familiar to any of you conservatives out there? If not, it should. I read the same thoughts every single day in your responses.

    March 5, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. oopru

    So much for constructive debate and getting rid of the vitriol.

    Oh, he's a Democrat? Doesn't apply to him. He's just "telling the truth", right?

    March 5, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. DG

    Why does Senator Brown need to apologize for stating historical facts? Until the people demand the truth from elected officals the assualt on the middle class will continue. There are strong parallels between Germany in the late 1920's and 1930's with what is happening in the U. S. today. Take a look at SInclar Lewis' book "It Can't Happen Here" or even Hitler's "Mein Kampf". Restoring freedom in the U.S. will not happen without informed citizens demanding truth from our public and elected officials.

    March 5, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Bob

    Wow, a Liberal invoking such horrible imagery and all is well. If a Conservative had done this, there would have been press conferences and people calling for their resignation. Maybe its time that EVERYONE stop invoking massive hyperbole and just focus on doing their jobs.

    March 5, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. bill486

    I wouldn't apologize for comparing the republican party to Hitler, because that's exactly what they're like.

    March 5, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. CBR

    The statement in itself is true. There were no unions under those men. However, their brutality is documented and their names have no place in the debate about unions and their problems here in the USA.

    Having said that, I do agree that the unions are being blamed for the budget problems in states. I think they need to look at the retirement pay, pensions, etc., of their own politicians – legislators and governors, and the golden retirements given to members fo the U.S> House and Senate.

    It is time to work together not play the blame game which many Republicans are doing.

    March 5, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. roccyraccoon

    Sen. Brown should not have to apologize for telling the truth. Union busting has always been a way for the rich and tyrants to suppress the masses. This is just another attempt to increase the divide between the rich and the poor. We no longer have a middle class. We have the 2% wealthy and 98% struggling to keep their heads above the waters of taxes and inept government control.

    March 5, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Clwyd

    Why? I think it was very appropriate! They did get rid of the unions, but they were called socialists in Germany at that time! They even burnt down the Reichtag and blamed it on socialists, just like Walker was thinking of using troublemakers, but settled for dropping live ammo on the Capitol lawn to make it look like troublemakers!

    March 5, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Joe

    Hitler or even Stalin were feared but not hated . Referring to Hitler or even Stalin is a right for any person to say its opinion regardelss if it is accepted by the public or not. Apology is not needed to refer to either men that were a part of history. Aren't they all in college books.

    March 5, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. GSW Minnesota

    What Sen. Brown stated does not require an apology. Stating facts of history are just that...facts. The radical right will only be satisifed when the unions are castrated. It does sound familiar, doesn't it?

    March 5, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. ingrid

    Both sides need to stop with the Hitler references...

    March 5, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. socal frank

    why should he have to apologize for telling the truth ???? Anyone who reads The Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich will recognize that the Nazi Party and the Republican Party work from the same playbook – hate - fear - greed.

    March 5, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    I like Sen. Sherrod Brown. He is a man that's passionate about his people and the rights of the "Little People". He screwed up in his statement and was wrong. What's good about him is the fact that he admitted the wrong statement outright and apologized for it. It was a clear cut apology and not one that was a hit and miss like "If I offend anyone I apologize". That's such an empty apology. KUDOS Senator Brown.

    March 5, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Billy Shakespeare

    Methinks he made a valid, comparative historical point.

    March 5, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. Bob Bichen

    To American politicians, newscasters, and pundits: Please stop referring to Nazis and Hitler as you discuss differing opinions and views. To do so diminishes and discounts what Hitler and the Nazis did. (Genocide). A person with a differing view that you disagree with is not a Nazi. Until or unless they start advocating the literal "extermination" of those with opposing agendas or viewpoints you have no basis to so casually toss about such terms and references.

    March 5, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. 2 Old 2B Afraid

    I don't think Sherrod Brown knows how close he was to telling the actual truth to Americans. The most important part that he left out was how Charles and David Koch's father, Fred, went to Stalin's Russia and made his fortune in oil refining there.

    The America oil companies didn't want him competing with their less effective refining process and shut him out via lawsuits. Russia needed expertise and Fred was only too happy to sign contracts to enrich himself. After he no longer needed Stalin or Russia, he & others founded the John Birch Society. He became virulently anti-communist, despite using that system to make his fortune outside of America.

    I highly recommend readers Google Fred Koch and get the real story of how the Koch Brothers have enriched themselves on the backs of working people and literally taken over America. These men are as Anti-American as they come.

    March 5, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Let them eat cake?

    What I don't understand is that unions pulled millions out of the gutter of poverty and into the middle class, the money made by the top hogs didn't affect their bottom line, but if things start to hurt, then attack the masses and leave the bankers alone to make more. Hitler did do the same thing, no appology necessary...

    March 5, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Donovan

    There's nothing wrong with calling Walker Hitler or Stalin. He's acting just like them!!!

    March 5, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Rlg

    The apology is too little, too late. It wasn't sincere, but made just to cover himeself.

    March 5, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Name Larry

    My thing is this, why apologize for the truth if what you say is true then just stand by it no matter what. I think we cheat ourselves when we have to defend what's true.

    March 5, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. David

    Sherrod Brown shouldn't apologize for ANYTHING. Gov. Walker and all the tea party thugs are America's burgeoning Nazi party. And like Hitler and Stalin, they see the unions as a threat, along with anything else that allows the worker to stand up to The Man.

    March 5, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. YBP

    There's no need to apologize. In this instance, the Senator was recounting history. It was an admonition, and he was absolutely correct. The subject of Hitler and the Nazis is not entirely closed for discussion. Otherwise we are doomed to repeat history for the lack of understanding it. And if we study the lead-up to the Nazi regime, we find that America is currently on a very similar path. Economic devastation, quasi-religious fanaticism and scapegoating were the early signs. Sound familiar? It's already happening. Can we stop it?

    March 5, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. Gaylon Barrow

    Yes you do need to apoligize. If it weren't for unions people would be working for nothing with no benefits. You people have short memories. It must go with the job when you become politicions your memory fails. Car Mfgs. and any other big industry would be paying minimum wage which would be PEANUTS TO WHAT IT IS NOW FOR NOT THE UNIONS. WHY DO YOU THINK All thes big companies want to relocate to other countries like Mexico and other low wage places. It's a double edged sword. When you can drive the living products down then you can lower the wages and do AWAY WITH UNIONS. BUT WHO'S GOING TO REGULATE THESE companies to pay wages/benefits benefiting their employees? Obama's goverment. OH hades no.

    March 5, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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