During any political convention, the rhetoric tends to get more inflammatory than usual—even by today’s standard. But on Wednesday morning at a delegate breakfast, South Carolina’s State Democratic Party Chair, Dick Harpootlian, turned the temperature up considerably.
Harpootlian compared Gov. Nikki Haley to Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress. According to The State, Harpootlian, who appeared to make the comment in jest, drew the analogy in response to Haley’s press conference on Tuesday in the basement of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, where she, along with Rep. Tim Scott and three others Republicans, criticized Pres. Obama’s performance on the economy.
Braun committed suicide by swallowing cyanide capsules when Russia’s Red Army was closing in and bringing about the end of World War II in the European Theater. Her death took place in an underground bunker in Berlin where she had barricaded herself alongside Hitler, who took his life by shooting himself in the head. It's not clear to which aspect of Braun's biography Harpootlian was referring.
State Sen. Joel Lourie (D - Richland), who represents District 22 and is the only Jewish member of the General Assembly, said, "(Harpootlian) has a long history of making off-the-cuff statements, but any comparison between an American politician and Nazi Germany is completely inappropriate and there is no place for it."
Another longtime Democrat, who asked not to be identified said, "Sometimes our Chairman gets carried away with himself when he is in the media spotlight and says things that he thinks are cute or funny, but often they are only funny to him.”
Rob Godfrey, Gov. Haley's spokesman, said, "Gov. Haley fights everyday to change the image of our state, but every time Dick Harpootlian -- an attention-starved, anti-business trial lawyer and video poker cheerleader -- opens his mouth, he embarrasses our state."
SC GOP Chair Chad Connelly also rebuked Harpootlian saying, "I am disgusted by Harpootlian's comparison. He should apologize immediately."
"I don't know what point (Harpootlian) was trying to make," Lourie said. "But this is a presidential campaign and we should be talking about real issues."