Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana politician who lost his Republican Senate campaign two years ago amid criticism over his comment about rape is now comparing the handling of the national economy to the events leading up to Germany's 1936 elections under the Nazi regime.
Republican Richard Mourdock during his 2012 U.S. Senate bid. (Image source: AP/Darron Cummings)
In a farewell speech to Indiana Republicans during the party convention Saturday, term-limited state Treasurer Richard Mourdock cautioned GOP members to be wary of politicians who promise entitlements and spending as debt grows — and added that the Nazis made the same promises to Germans before that country's 1936 elections.
Mourdock began his speech by praising World War II veterans on the heels of D-Day's 70th anniversary, but then said the war started much earlier than that, during Germany's 1936 elections.
"And this is where I put on my state treasurer's hat again for just a moment to give the most important lesson: The people of Germany in a free election selected the Nazi Party because they made great promises, that appealed to them because they were desperate and destitute," Mourdock said.
He said the Nazis targeted one group after another, "but ultimately they went after the Jews, they deprived them of their property, their rights, their citizenship. Because they were bankrupt."
Mourdock said the circumstances that carried the Nazis to power were economic — which raised his concerns about America's current situation dealing with debt.
"The truth is 70 years later we are drifting toward the tides of another beachhead with the bankruptcy of America," he said.
[sharequote align="center"]"...ultimately they went after the Jews."[/sharequote]
Mourdock explained afterward his statement wasn't meant as a direct comparison to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
But in a tweet Saturday afternoon, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody asked the state's Republican Party leaders to denounce Mourdock's comparison.
Mourdock has faced criticism for remarks before. During a debate in the final weeks of his 2012 U.S. Senate bid, the Tea Party-backed Mourdock said a pregnancy resulting from rape is "something God intended."
Mourdock lost that race to Democrat Joe Donnelly, and state Republican leaders have kept their distance from him since then. National Republicans used his stumble as an example when training candidates on how to avoid gaffes on the campaign trail.
Here's a clip detailing the controversy over Mourdock's 2012 statements: