Thursday, January 20, 2011

Steve Cohen: I regret that Goebbels crack created "distraction," but Republicans are still liars

Dem Rep. Steve Cohen, who refused to back off last night in the face of criticism of his reference to Goebbels and the GOP's "big lie" technique, is out with a new statement on the matter:

Taken out of context, I can understand the confusion and concern. In speaking about the Republican message of "government takeover of health care" that has been drummed into the heads of Americans and the media for more than a year, I referenced the non-partisan, Pulitzer prize-winning judgment that named the Republican message as the "2010 Lie of the Year."

"While I regret that anything I said has created an opportunity to distract from the debate about health care for 32 million Americans, I want to be clear that I never called Republicans Nazis. Instead, the reference I made was to the greatest propaganda master of all time. Propaganda, which is called "messaging" today, can be true or false. In this case, the message is false.

"I would certainly never do anything to diminish the horror of the Nazi Holocaust as I revere and respect the history of my people. I sponsored legislation which created one of the first state Holocaust Commissions in America and actively served as a Commission member for over 20 years. I regret that anyone in the Jewish Community, my Republican colleagues or anyone else was offended by the portrayal of my comments. My comments were not directed toward any group or people but at the false message and, specifically, the method by which is has been delivered.

"It is disappointing that my comments have been used to distract from the health care reform debate. It is my hope that we can return our focus to the matter at hand-health care for 32 million Americans."

Parse this and it's clear Cohen is not budging. He reiterates that he didn't compare Republicans to Nazis, and rejects the claim that his remarks diminshed the Holocaust. Meanwhile, he's expressing regret that his remarks allowed others to create a distraction from the health debate. And he regrets the fact that some people were offended by "the portrayal" of what he said, not the comments themselves.

Meanwhile, by making the unabashed claim that today's GOP health care "messaging" is "propaganda" by another name, Cohen is standing by his core allegation about a massive Republican campaign of mendacity. He's not backing off one bit.

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