West Virginia Republican Senate candidate, John Raese, has compared a local ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and hotels with the Nazis' persecution of the Jews.
The smoking ban was adopted by Monongalia County, which encompasses Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.
Raese, who is campaigning against Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin this November, compared the ruling that took effect in Monongalia County last month to the yellow Star of David that Nazi Germany forced Jews to wear.
"But in Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say that this is a smoke-free environment. Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody's lapel, remember that? Same thing," the New York Daily News quoted Raese, as saying.
Raese also reportedly compared the smoking ban to the Depression-era National Recovery Act, established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Raese referred to as "General Roosevelt" and "Fidel Roosevelt," to take steps to spur economic recovery.
However, his comments drew stark criticism from US Civil Rights authorities.
"These kinds of analogies to Nazi Germany are offensive and inappropriate. They're out of bounds for everyone, including elected officials," Deborah Lauter, Director of Civil Rights, Anti-Defamation League, said referring to Raese's comment.
"We just hope that candidates use more common sense and can be more careful with their words," she added.
However, Raese stood by his 'Hitler analogy' claiming, "No, this is not a standard line, nor a misstatement. It is a loss of freedom. As Ronald Reagan once said, there is no such thing as partial freedom, there is only freedom." (ANI)