John Raese compares smoking ban to Hitler's Star of David policy (VIDEO)


Republican Senate nominee John Raese of West Virginia concedes victory to Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin in November 2010. The two battled for the Senate seat that was held by the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)


Jeff Swensen

John Raese, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, compared a county smoking ban to Adolf Hitler forcing Jews to wear the Star of David during a recent speaking event.

Speaking last Thursday at the Putnam County Lincoln Day Dinner, Raese railed against Monongalia County's recently enacted smoking ban as an example of government overreach, The Huffington Post reported.

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"But in Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say this is a smoke-free environment. This is brought to you by the government of Monongalia County. OK?" he in a video of the comments. "Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody’s lapel, remember that? Same thing."

Raese also referred to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as "General Roosevelt" and "Fidel Roosevelt" later in the video.

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He issued the following statement in response to an inquiry by Politico about the Hitler comments:

"No, this is not a standard line, nor a misstatement. It is a loss of freedom," Raese said. "As Ronald Reagan once said, there is no such thing as partial freedom, there is only freedom."

Raese is challenging former-Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin for the U.S. Senate seat. Manchin beat Raese in a special election in 2010 to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.

According to Politico, he joins a long list of politicians from both parties making Hitler comparisons. They include: California Gov. Jerry Brown, Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Florida Rep. Allen West.