Democrats criticize GOP over House nominee who dressed as Nazi during battle reenactments

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A GOP nominee for the House of Representatives drew sharp criticism from Holocaust survivors Saturday for having participated in a Nazi reenactment group devoted to a Waffen SS division, and Democrats seized on the Ohio businessman's activities as the latest indication that the Republican Party is backing fringe candidates.

The Atlantic magazine reported Friday that Rich Iott, a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Guns" program, participated in the reenactment group for several years starting in 2003. Iott told the Atlantic he joined the group with his son as "a father-son bonding thing" and left three years ago after his son lost interest.

In a statement Saturday responding to what he called "despicable accusations and distortions of the truth," Iott said he has "immense respect for veterans who served our country valiantly, particularly those who fought to rid the world of tyranny and aggression by relegating Nazism to the trash heap of history."

The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, which represents about 80,000 families, said Iott's "failure to apologize is particularly shameful and desecrates the memory of all victims of the Nazis, Jew and non-Jew."...

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