Republican congressional candidate defends appearance before Hitler group

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A Republican congressional candidate in Indiana is defending himself after speaking to a group that was celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

The Northwest Indiana Times published a photo of candidate Tony Zirkle last week speaking in Chicago to the American National Socialist Workers Party, a neo-Nazi group. He spoke in front of a portrait of Hitler and was flanked by large swastika banners.

Zirkle wrote on his Web site Tuesday that the criticism he’s received is undeserved and claimed he was just trying to “present Jesus to a group the media claims is filled with hate.”

“The liberal media believes that evangelizing Nazis is more evil than suicide bombers, child rapists, drug dealers, murders, torturers and yes even porn-pimps,” he wrote.

The Northwest Indiana Times quoted Zirkle as saying: “I’ll speak before any group that invites me. … I’ve spoken on an African-American radio station in Atlanta.”

The newspaper wrote that Zirkle has previously stirred controversy by suggesting segregating races into different states.

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