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Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown apologizes for Hitler-Stalin comments

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Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio apologized yesterday for dragging the names of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin into his peroration decrying Republican proponents of anti-union legislation on the Senate floor Thursday. The progressive Brown became a little overzealous while sticking up for unions, the working man, and the middle class, saying:

"I look back in history and some of the worst governments we've ever had, you know that one of the first things they ever did? They went after the trade unions. Hitler didn't want unions. Stalin didn't want unions. Mubarak didn't want independent unions. These autocrats in history don't want independent unions."

During his Thursday speech, Brown did immediately clarify that he wasn't trying to compare Ohio and Wisconsin Republicans to the leader of The Third Reich. But merely invoking the name of Hitler was enough to cause a stink in Washington, even among some fellow Democrats. Brown said in a statement:

"I am passionate about fighting for the midle 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. I don't want my mistake to distract from the critical debate in Ohio, and I apologize for it."

It's a pretty articulate speech, but if you want to cut to the chase, Brown's controversial remarks begin around the 8:15 mark in the video.