FACT CHECK: Brown Compared Republicans to Hitler and Stalin

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FACT CHECK: Brown Compared Republicans to Hitler and Stalin

JOSH CLAIMS: Brown compared Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin to Hitler and Stalin. 

THE TRUTH: Brown was providing historical context, not comparing Republicans to Hitler & Stalin, and apologized.

1. Brown clearly stated that he was not comparing the oppression of Hitler and Stalin to the attempts to eliminate collective bargaining in Ohio, rather providing historical context. [Columbus Dispatch, 3/3/2011]

2. Brown acknowledged that his historical comparison was inappropriate, a distraction from the critical fight for workers rights, and apologized. [Columbus Dispatch, 3/3/2011]

Sen. Brown Quickly Added That He Was Not Comparing What Happened To Unions In Madison Or Columbus To Hitler And Stalin.  In March 2011, The Columbus Dispatch wrote “Brown then quickly added that he was not ‘comparing what’s happened to the workers in Madison or in Columbus to Hitler and Stalin. But I am saying that history teaches us that unions are a very positive force in society that creates a middle class and that protects our freedom.’”  [Columbus Dispatch, 3/3/11]

Sen. Brown Apologized For Invoking Hitler And Stalin.  In March 2011, The Columbus Dispatch reported “U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown has apologized for a speech in which he invoked the names of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin while he criticized Republican efforts in Ohio and Wisconsin to curtail the power of public-employee unions to bargain with state and local governments. In a statement yesterday, the Ohio Democrat said he is ‘passionate about fighting for the middle class. 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,’ Brown said. ‘I don’t want my mistake to distract from the critical debate in Ohio, and I apologize for it.’”  [Columbus Dispatch, 3/05/11]