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January 20th, 2011
11:30 AM ET

Dem stands by Nazi comparison

Alexander Mooney
CNN Ticker Producer

(CNN) – Rep. Steve Cohen, the Tennessee Democrat who compared Republican efforts to criticize health care to the works of a famous Nazi propagandist, is standing by his heated rhetoric on the House Floor Tuesday night.

But in an interview with CNN's John King, Cohen said he was not directly comparing Republicans to Nazis, but rather merely suggesting they are employing the same techniques of that of infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

"I didn't compare the Republicans to Nazis," Cohen told CNN Wednesday. "Goebbels was the master of political propaganda. He said repeat it. Make it short. Make it simple and repeat it over and over. And that's what they've done. It's not a – you just heard [Minnesota Republican Rep.] Michele Bachmann call it socialistic. That's just – they're lies."

The original comments came Tuesday night when Cohen, speaking to a virtually empty House Floor, said, "They say it's a government takeover of health care, a big lie, just like Goebbels. You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie and eventually people believe it."

In his interview with CNN, Cohen insists the press has blown his comments out of proportion.

"Some have in the press…seem to want to jump on anything," he said, adding later, "I think that people are looking for something. I think the press was hypersensitive. Certainly I didn't intend to do that, but the way they lied has been the same way that the master political propagandist of all time Goebbels said to lie."

Also speaking on Anderson Copper 360 Wednesday, Cohen said he wouldn't make the comparison again but declared, "I was right."

Keeping Them Honest: Cohen compares GOP on health care to Nazi propaganda

Full story on the CNN Political Ticker


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Susan

    I agree with Mr. Cohen's assessment. It's unfortunate that the media jumps on every little thing and exploits it. Freedom of speech is what it is. We need to stop apologizing for our thoughts and opinions whether it be on the right or left. The Republican party does use scary lies to sway the uneducated and/or the threatened majority of this country. They rely on Cognitive Dissonance as a tool to perpetuate their agenda. Do Democrats do this? Of Course. So, the pissed off among us are in direct proportion to the statements being made on either side of the debate. Isn't that all about America?

    January 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  2. Bill

    Republican politicians like to think they represent the rednecks of America and that this means they represent real Americans, but Republican politicians are too elitist to represent real Americans, rednecks or not.

    January 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  3. Bill

    I've been called a redneck and even admit I'm a redneck, an educated redneck that is anyway, like 99.9% of all rednecks, not from Harvard but not from one of those government-money-stealing, online universities either. I was raised in a Republican home, but the Republican party is over in its current form. And the tea party is the Republican party on steroids, even worse. The Republican party is like the Nazis in the way they push their ideology and the tea party like the SS. The Republican party would prefer to go around the world beating people into submission rather than taking care of its own citizens at home. Is there a Republican out there who wants to repeal healthcare who does not have some sort of healthcare? If these people don't exist then these very people should just shut their traps. Plain and simple. And they should go to Afganistan and fight the Taliban themselves. Or even better, if you live in the U.S. and don't have health care then let us send you to the middle east so you'll at least have U.S. Army health care. The Republicans should like that idea. Next time there's a Katrina Hurricane, everybody who is housed in a shelter like the New Orleans Astrodome can be sent directly to the middle east. Or maybe we could send prison inmates to fight around the world since we are already covering their health care benefits in prison. So 100% of the people in prison have better health care coverage than many law abiding citizents on the streets. The Republicans are fried! The Independent party needs its own news station. The Independent party should ask for money from the public to launch its own news station. Is there anybody out there who would not make a donation?

    January 21, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  4. Gonzarelli

    Anderson! You're starting to sound more anti-American. The more I listen/watch your show, I see how your quick to defend muslims while tearing down the opinions of our own spokesmen. What is going on Sir? Are you not an American?
    This country will break down from the inside out because we are giving way to much freedom to those who were once our enemies now claiming to be our friends and playing to follow the same faith for the sake of succeeding in our country. I figured you to be more intelligent then what is projected but you getting on someone who freely speaks about the lies told and comparing them to the NAZI crap from the Germans at that time! Is BS. You need to realize we have the freedom of speech in this country, I don't see an issue with someone stating their lies are NAZI like as opposed to them stating, "lies are from Satan!" Would you get on someone who made this statement? Come on! Which side are you on buddy?
    Thanks.

    January 21, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  5. Patricia Somers

    Representative Steve Cohen should know that when it comes to lies becoming truth, he needs only to heed his own party. Though I originally heard that Loughner had a grudge against Giffords and was upset at an answer she gave to his question at an earlier event. However, listening to Tom Harman and Randi Rhodes, it was conservative talk shows hosts responsible for the shooting. This was picked up and repeated as fact by so many I know. Then Harry Reid blamed the Bush policies for our energy problems when the Democrat congress blocked every move to use energy reserves in our United States. Forget about civility, let's stop the blame game and stick to the facts–if anyone in either party has the guts to do so. As "servants of the people" all fall short, being too busy serving themselves, their agendas and associates.

    January 21, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  6. Alex Chaney

    Come on Anderson, I saw the interview and that was YOU making that stretch. You were making up the fake outrage this time. You are a very very smart person and you know the point he was making.

    Anyone who knows anything about history, knows how Goebbels was a master propagandist.

    Just because Goebbels was a Nazi does not mean that the representative was calling Republicans Nazi. That was a fake outrage stretch that I usually expect from Fox "Fake" News, not CNN.

    Come on Anderson, you can do much better than this. You are way smarter than this, you know he was NOT calling them all Nazi or comparing them to Nazi.

    He said the tactics they were using were like Goebbels. You stretched it and said he meant they were being like Nazi.

    Raise your bar Anderson!

    -Alex

    January 20, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  7. Steve

    I wrote my masters thesis on Nazi propaganda, and Mr. Cohen is correct that the republican rhetorical tactics are very similar to those used by Goebbels.

    Unfortunately, most seem to be saying that the congressman is comparing the republicans to Nazis, which is not the case. He is comparing the two types of political rhetoric.

    January 20, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  8. Tensy Guzman

    Do you like the behavior of Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, and all the Tea Party members that have insulted President Obama. Mr. Cooper you have a short memory. But I read the most disrespectful words about the President no long ago, even asking him to go back to Africa; everybody should repudiate it, yes, repudiate it, you included.
    I support everything that David Cohen has said, he is the only citizen who has what it takes to be a real man.
    Bravo Mr. Cohen, and may God bless you and give you the guts and courage to defend this whole nation from the unscrupulous and the infidels.
    Mr. Cooper remind the whole world, because history has omitted to tell the new generations that 10 million Africans were brought in the worst of conditions to this country from Africa, to work in the cotton and tobacco fields, two main industries that made this country what it is today. We owe to those African Americans the greatness of this country, but we rather insult them and hate them. WE ALL COME FROM THE SAME SOURCE UNLESS YOU ARE A MARTIAN. GOD CREATED US ALL EQUAL.
    I love you Mr. Cooper but please show your intellect, otherwise, I am going to change the channel.
    God Bless you,
    Tensy.

    January 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  9. M hoerger

    Worst keeping them honest you ever did. You need to watch more of the daily,show to see what keeping themm honest is all about. The bush administration was never in politics. They started out in advertisiing simple declarative statements. It's a sunny day I am in new York. Great job brownie. They moved from that to propaganda. Iraq is behind al Qaeda. Everytime they got caught saying it theybadmitted they did not blow up the wtc. Then bush, Chaney and rice went right on saying it until most people belived it. The big lie. The nazis did indeed perfect it. The fact that death panels became big lie does not make the GOP Nazis. It mean they use the big lie techniques. Are we so stupid that we can not be told who invented that sowe can assess the danger in the technique.? Apparently we are! Steve Cohen was totally right . The use of the big lie by ivy league people talking to low information voters is wrong, it has been done before and with terrible consequwnces. Is the use of the death panel lie ok to convince poor people to vote against the health care that might save their child from cancer? It's not ok and the fact that the Nazis liked and perfected the tech ique is something people need to consider. Propagandists can actually act like Nazis. It's ok for you to keep them honest too. They are immoral, which is worse than mere name calling.

    January 20, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  10. Joe Cannon

    Anderson,
    Most of the time you are right on the money, however; your interview with Rep. Cohen you were dead wrong. As a historian I understood that Mr. Cohen was not comparing the GOP with Nazi propaganda, he was saying that the GOP was employing similar tactics and he was correct. Your example was wrong. The Tea Baggers and the Palinites say the President is a Nazi, a socialist, a marxist and not an American. This is a huge difference
    from what the Congressman did.

    January 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  11. Eileen Rockwell

    It's unbelievable to me that you (the press) would take such a huge jump to saying that Cohen was making a camparison to being a Nazi. When if you actually listen to what he really said, it was that the "techniques" used were like that of Gerbels who was probably the most successful polital liar there was. Would you say that the blitzkrieg tactics used by General Schwartzkof in Irag make him a Nazi? I don't think so. We should looking to news services like CNN for intelligent discourse and clarification not creating controversary where none exists. I'm not watching you for a while because I don't appreciate being treated like an idiot.I thought you were better than that.
    Thanks

    January 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  12. Mike Levy

    The Tennessee congressman was being intellectually honest when he noted media manipulation by FOX "news" and Rush Limbaugh is a well-oiled propaganda machine. Their goal is to elect republicans by repetitive distortion or creation of "facts" about democrats. I appreciate his courage to highlight the dangers of such propaganda with his comparison.

    January 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  13. Steve Gunn

    It would be nice to see more facts being talked about and less generalized slogans.

    January 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  14. don lowry

    A proud Tennessee Republican is again appalled by the often outspoken usually wrong Rep. Steve Cohen. To him words can harm if they are said by the other guy but his words are not meant to harm or inflame anyone, doublespeak at it's best. Rep. Cohen has again disgraced the state of Tennessee and himself but he doesn't see it 9again). Cohen's lies are not lies because he say's so but other people thoughts and their beliefs are lies because he says so. He is so out of touch with reality it is a shame and his preposterous pondering is shameful.

    January 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  15. John McQueen

    So Rep. Cohen's basic, factual claim that the GOP routinely uses a technique pioneered by Nazis rankles your sensibilities. Gratifying though it must feel to righteously flay him, you need to check the log in your own eye. On health care finance reform alone, the GOP's big lies include "death panels," "adding to the deficit," "job killing," "government takeover," "we have the best health care system in the world," and others. If you'd sped more time informing and less time targeting one of the few Dems who makes bold to speak the truth, we'd be a lot better informed out here.

    January 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  16. Bruce Linton

    Anderson, you are wrong to make this about Nazis. The point is that the technique called the Big Lie, which was a technique that the Nazi used, is a technique that is being used today about such things as Health Care Reform by those who want to see it repealed. Death Panels and other lies that these people have promoted are that technique and are bad for our society. It's one of journalism's responsibility to point out when something being said is patently untrue. There hasn't been enough of that going on lately, and with the way Fox News makes stuff up, there's been much media participation in promoting the Big Lie. Perhaps you should reflect on your own response when politicians come out and blatantly tell it the way it isn't.

    Just saying.

    January 20, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  17. Brett Harriman -- Pahrump, Nevada

    Anderson: Excellent interview of Rep. Steve Cohen. Refreshing to hear you and Dana Bash point to the blatant hypocrisy of some in Washington. It was laughable that your guest Cornel B. was trying his best to cover for the congressman.

    January 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  18. Derick

    Anderson Cooper, you are a far better reporter than your wendsday night show. you can view my comment in full on CNN's web site. Cohen was only compairing "TATICS" to "TATICS", not "PEOPLE" to "PEOPLE".
    I could'nt do a better job than you in telling the news, however, you should also be carefull how you conduct your interview(s)because within that same interview you almost claim hatred to (Nazi Party), (germans), who are also a rase of "PEOPLE" that made up a very bad party, (Nazi Party). A group of German extremist no different than the extremist fought today (Talibans). Under your approach to Cohen, "every German is a Nazi, and evry Nazi a German". Like-wise, "every Pakistanian/ Muslems are Treroist/Taliban, and vice versa".
    There are Germans alive today, Anderson. So what, are they Nazies, too, Anderson; or just a pocket of people of the past that made up a bad "PARTY" that tried to deceive the remaining nations to hate Jews?
    Tighten up Anderson.

    January 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  19. Tony

    Mr. Cooper thank you for unbiased journalism in pointing out the hypocrisy of Cohen. Well done sir. If only the rest of the MSM conducted themselves as unbiased journalists rather than a cheer leading club for the Democrats. One can dream, right?

    January 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  20. Larry

    Call a spade a spade. It is what it is. It is lies, lies and more lies. Repeat it enough the people will follow just as the German population did! OIt must be said to make sure our ignorant population is not spoon fed lies that they will believe!

    January 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  21. JIM DYER

    I usually agree with you but thought you were off the mark a bit emphasizing the Nazi remarks. The analogy might have been wrong by Cohen but the logic was spot-on. You should focus on the lies that are told to the american people not the analogy.

    January 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  22. Mary Ann

    Mr. Cohen is correct and I got sick of Anderson saying the same thing over and over because his comparison was right on. There isn't another radical group to compare the repbulicans to, that they emulate. It's about time more Democrats speak out the truth just like this man. the republicans don't mind sending 1 lie after another and like the man said, they say it enough times and loud enough, millions start to believe it. So congratulations to Mr. Cohen for speaking the truth; many of us agree with him wholeheartedly!!!!

    January 20, 2011 at 11:49 am |