Reaction has been swift and bipartisan against comments made by an outspoken Tennessee state senator who compared Affordable Care Act signees to Jewish people being sent to Nazi death camps.
"Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory signups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of mandatory signups for 'train rides' for Jews in the 40s," said Campfield in a blog post on Monday morning.
Now, even members of his own party are saying he needs to apologize for what he posted.
"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," said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney in a statement.
Campfield later said by invoking the Holocaust analogy, he was referring to America's continuing loss of freedoms.
"My attention was never to diminish what happened to them. I think that is terrible. I was talking about American people losing freedoms, and if you talk to Jewish people about losing freedoms and then having government decide who lives and dies through health care - or that government's going to start paying for abortions, I think they should be the first to stand up against it," Campfield said.
Still, Campfield's comments sent shock waves across the nation, particularly within the Jewish community.
"To use the Holocaust as an example to talk about Obamacare, really, Sen. Campfield, you could have done something differently. You could have made a different choice than that," said Abbie Wolf, spokeswoman for the Jewish Federation of Nashville.
Tennessee Democrats say the Republican Party has been split between reasonable conservatives and those who spew hate to get their message across.
"It's hard to know whether this particular tea party Republican misunderstands the Holocaust more or the attempt to provide healthcare to working people more. He obviously understands neither," said Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron.
The Anti-Defamation League urged Campfield to apologize, saying "this type of comparison diminishes and trivializes the Holocaust," and "there is no place for it in civil discussions."
Although Campfield issued a follow-up explanation on his website of exactly what he meant by his statement, he says he won't be offering an official apology.
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