MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 25)
Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson has apologized for comments he made likening his opponent’s success to the rise of Adolf Hitler.
Carlson told the American Jewish World, in an interview published Aug. 5, that while challenger Allen Quist represents only “a narrow sliver” of Minnesota Republicans, history has shown how “a narrow sliver has the ability to take over an entire system.
“That clearly is how Hitler started out,” Carlson said.
Though Carlson is himself a Republican, Quist — a member of an extremely conservative Lutheran synod — is the party’s endorsed candidate for governor.
Carlson has alienated many in his party with his support for abortion and gay rights, while Quist has drawn media attention for suggesting that men are “genetically predisposed” to be heads of households.
In the newspaper interview, Carlson warned Jews that Quist will try “to use the instruments of government to intrude into every aspect of people’s lives” and that if Quist is elected, “people who are non-Christian will not be a part” of state government.
Quist hotly rejected the governor’s comments in the local media. After the Associated Press picked up on the story, and The New York Times reprinted Carlson’s comments, the state’s Republican Party chair, Chris Georgacas, chastised the governor for setting off a “firestorm” of controversy.
In his written apology, Carlson said his comment about Hitler had been meant only as a historical analogy, and not as a personal comparison.
Responding to the Carlson analogy, a Quist campaign spokesperson retorted, “What is an analogy, if not a comparison?”