Broun defends remarks

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun's fear that President-elect Barack Obama might take Americans' guns and use a new national security force to declare himself dictator, as Adolf Hitler did in Nazi Germany, is a legitimate concern, the Athens Republican said Tuesday.

A day after raising the possibility that Mr. Obama could be the next Hitler or a Soviet-style Marxist leader, Dr. Broun stood by his remarks and defended them as appropriate for a congressman.

"I firmly believe that we must not fall victim to the 'it can't happen here' mentality," Dr. Broun said in a news release Tuesday. "I adhere to the adage 'eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.' "

Democrats called Dr. Broun's views extreme.

"Broun's neo-McCarthyism has no place in today's political environment," said Martin Matheny, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Comparisons to Hitler are despicable because they trivialize the Holocaust, whether they come from the left about President Bush or from the right about Mr. Obama, said Athens-Clarke County Mayor Heidi Davison, a Jewish Democrat.

"I don't like people who flippantly use either 'Hitler' or 'Nazi' to describe the actions of other people, at all, ever," Ms. Davison said.

By making such controversial statements, Dr. Broun might find it difficult to get work done in Washington, she said.

"He does put himself in the position when he makes comments like that, that he could potentially fracture relationships with people who he has to work with," she said.

Dr. Broun said in the news release that he hopes Mr. Obama will be a bipartisan executive and is "eager to work with our president-elect when he is constitutionally correct."

Dr. Broun's comments reflect the fears of many Republicans who believe Mr. Obama has a shadowy background that wasn't fully explored by the press, said Jim Box, the chairman of the Clarke County GOP.

"The question is, where's this guy going?" Mr. Box said. "A lot of people are raising suspicions about him."

Dr. Broun made headlines nationwide Monday when -- based on a Colorado speech when Mr. Obama called for a "civilian national security force" -- he raised the possibility that Mr. Obama plans to establish a Nazi- or Soviet-style security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.

"That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany, and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did," Dr. Broun told the Associated Press on Monday. "When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist."

Mr. Obama referred to the civilian national security force as part of a call for expanding the Peace Corps and other volunteer programs and encouraging young people to commit to public service overseas and in poor parts of the country, according to a July 2 Chicago Tribune article about the speech.

Media outlets sensationalized Dr. Broun's comments about the Obama speech, he said, but he reiterated his concerns about Mr. Obama's tax and gun policies.

"I never called Mr. Obama a communist, nor did I accuse him of being Hitler, but I do not apologize for stating the obvious: His socialist views are out of the mainstream of American political thought, and history shows that 'civilian national security forces' bode ill for citizens," Dr. Broun said.

Paul Broun: U.S. representative stood by comments he made on Monday drawing parallels between Barack Obama and Hitler, saying media outlets have blown them out of proportion and that citizens must remain vigilant.