Press Release ● Human and Civil Rights
For Immediate Release: 
March 4, 2004
Contact Info: 
Stacey Farnen

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding remarks attributed to Rep. Tom Cole (OK-4).  According to press reports, Congressman Cole said a vote against President Bush’s re-election is like supporting Adolf Hitler during World War II, and that, “If George Bush loses the election, Osama bin Laden wins the election.”

“If the news reports by radio station KTOK in Oklahoma City regarding Congressman Cole’s comments are correct, then he ought to be ashamed of himself and Members on both sides of the aisle ought to repudiate them as completely wrong, unacceptable and out-of-bounds.

“Senator John Kerry is a war hero who served our nation with honor and distinction.  For Congressman Cole to disagree with Senator Kerry’s views is one thing.  But for him to impugn John Kerry’s patriotism and career-long commitment to our national security by suggesting that a vote against George Bush is like supporting Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden is beyond comprehension.  Congressman Cole ought to know better.

“In the past, Republicans have often come close to the line of making direct attacks on the patriotism of Democrats.  But these comments are so brazen and so base that I urge all of my colleagues – Democrat and Republican alike – to denounce them as clearly wrong and unacceptable.

“A few weeks ago, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ed Gillespie, rightly denounced a television advertisement in which an image of President Bush morphed into Hitler.  Today, I call on Mr. Gillespie to similarly rebuke these comments by a member of his own political party, Congressman Cole.  Comments like these are indefensible, regardless of the speaker’s political affiliation.

“It is a sad day in America when a public servant like John Kerry, who literally put his own life in harm’s way in service of his country, can be compared to two of history’s most despicable mass-murderers.  If this is how the Republican Party hopes to bring John Kerry down, the American people are going to see right through it.”