Conservative House Candidate In Indiana Defends Speaking To Nazi Group On Hitler’s Birthday

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"Conservative House Candidate In Indiana Defends Speaking To Nazi Group On Hitler’s Birthday"

On Sunday, Tony Zirkle — who is seeking the Republican nomination in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional district — delivered a speech to the American National Socialist Workers Party (ANSWP) on the 119th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birth. At the event, Zirkle “stood in front of a painting of Hitler, next to people wearing swastika armbands and with a swastika flag in the background.”

Asked by reporters why he spoke to a group like ANSWP, which refers to itself as “the largest and most active pro-white organization in America,” Zirkle said he’ll “speak before any group that invites me,” adding that he’s even “spoken on an African-American radio station in Atlanta.”

Zirkle told The News-Dispatch that he doesn’t “know enough about the group” to say whether he agrees with it’s ideology or not:

When asked if he was a Nazi or sympathized with Nazis or white supremacists, Zirkle replied he didn’t know enough about the group to either favor it or oppose it.

Watch a local CBS affiliate’s report on Zirkle’s speech:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/04/ZirkleGOPNazi.320.240.flv]

2008 is not the first time Zirkle has sought the 2nd district seat. In both 2004 and 2006, he challenged then-incumbent Chris Chocola. In 2006, Zirkle pulled in 30% of the Republican primary vote, despite calling for a return of the guillotine.

Since at least this past March, when Zirkle suggested that “the United States should debate segregating by race,” the local Republican Party has been trying to distance itself from Zirkle.” “The ‘R’ next to Tony Zirkle’s name does not stand for ‘Republican,'” said St. Joseph County Republican Chairman Chris Riley. “It stands for ‘repulsive.'”

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Earlier this year, Zirkle tried to officially make “Hvfvgpd” his middle name, but filed his candidacy under just “Tony Zirkle” because the GOP had tried to throw him “off the ballot” in two previous elections.

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