CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A Republican candidate running for U.S. Congress says his past donning of a Nazi outfit was part of a historical lesson - and defended his background in military re-enactments.
Rich Iott, a Tea Party favorite running for election in Ohio's 9th Congressional District, explained his position during an interview on CNN's "AC 360" Monday night.
Iott participated in World War II re-enactments for several years in the past decade and created a German alter ego. He has said he started participating in the events as a way to bond with his son. Iott has also participated in Civil War and World War I re-enactments.
"The whole purpose of historical re-enacting is to educate people one-on-one," Iott said. "And that is done by going out and participating in re-enactments."
When asked whether he thought the men being impersonated were "valiant men," Iott said, "I don't think we can sit here and judge that today. We were not there the time they made those decisions. Were there bad people? Absolutely. Were there atrocities committed? Absolutely there were. There are people that want to deny the Holocaust ever happened in this country and around the world."
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with