Campfield references Holocaust in describing Obamacare signups - WKRN News 2

Sen. Campfield references Holocaust in describing Obamacare signups

Posted: Updated: May 05, 2014 06:59 PM
Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield spoke with our sister station WATE about the blog post Monday. Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield spoke with our sister station WATE about the blog post Monday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A blog post from Republican Tennessee Senator Stacey Campfield that refers to the Holocaust in a description of Obamacare signups is causing his own party to ask him to apologize.

In his daily musing called Camp4u, Sen. Campfield wrote on Monday, May 5, 2014, “Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory signups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the manditory (sic) signups for 'train rides' for Jews in the 40s."

The Nashville Scene on its Pith in the Wind blog responded in minutes with a headline that read "Campfield: Obamacare is like Holocaust."

Over the phone, the Knoxville senator told News 2 that he "is not minimizing loss of life" in Nazi Germany.

Campfield added that he was making a point about Obamacare saying “it is not an accurate portrayal for the administration to brag about signups for Obamacare when it’s mandatory."

He added, “When you control people's health, you control their lives and if they live or die."

The Tennessee Republican Party quickly rebuked the Campfield’s comments.

In a statement, GOP party Chair Chris Devaney said, “While Stacey Campfield routinely makes remarks that are over the top, today's comments are ignorant and repugnant. No political or policy disagreement should ever be compared to the suffering endured by an entire generation of people. Those comments have no place in our public discourse. He should offer an apology to members of the Jewish faith immediately."

The Tennessee Democratic Party called Campfield’s remarks outrageous, pathetic and hateful.

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron said in a statement, “Senator Campfield’s blog post this morning is just the latest example of Tea Party Republican extremism. To compare attempts to save American lives through access to healthcare with Nazis killing European Jews is outrageous, pathetic, and hateful."
 
The statement continued, “Sen. Campfield and other Tea Party Republicans ought to look at the 5,000 Tennesseans who will die within the next three years because Tea Party Republicans refused to take the 100% federal funding to expand Medicaid and have denied working Tennesseans access to healthcare.”

In Nashville, a spokesperson for the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Middle Tennessee asked for the lawmaker to retract his words.

"The first thing I thought when I read these words [was], 'These words are an abomination.'" said the group's spokesperson, Abbie Wolf. "I think he should issue an absolute and immediate apology to the Jewish community, and to the entire community, because his words pain and embarrass us all."

She added it was particularly insensitive because the annual Day of Remembrance for Holocaust victims was just last week.

The chorus of calls for an apology from Sen. Campfield was joined by House Republican Leader Gerald McCormick.

In a statement, he said, “I was shocked by Senator Campfield’s disgraceful blog post that compared a policy dispute with the suffering of an entire race of people. The far-reaching effects of the Holocaust are still felt today, and any effort to cheapen that suffering is distasteful and classless. I call on Senator Campfield to apologize immediately.”

As of late Monday afternoon, Campfield indicated he regretted people focusing on the Holocaust statement when the purpose of his blog was to say "when people are being taken against their will, it is the same as some forcing sign up or something against their will."
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