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Braun Criticized For Comment Mentioning Hitler

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Carol Moseley Braun is raising some eyebrows, after she made a comment about Adolf Hitler at a rally over the weekend.

Braun was at a rally with Princeton University professor Cornel West Sunday, in which she said one of her opponents, frontrunner Rahm Emanuel, reminded her of a character in the 1968 comedy movie, "The Producers."

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Mary Frances Bragiel reports


In the movie, produced by Mel Brooks, producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) and accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) start a scam to raise money in advance and then produce a play so bad it would close after opening night.

The play, "Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchetsgaden," was supposed to have been written with sincerity as "a love letter to Hitler" by a deranged ex-Nazi soldier named Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars.)

Braun asked how many of the 200 people gathered for the rally at the Parkway Ballroom, 4455 S. King Dr., had seen the film, the Chicago News Cooperative reported.

When it turned out few had, she went on to make a crack that Emanuel's "so kind, so nice" campaign image was disproved by his voting against 128 bill sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, the Chicago News Cooperative reported. She then went on to say this reminded her of Liebkind, who was "still in love with the Fuhrer," the Chicago News Cooperative reported.

When no one laughed, Braun went on to say: "You don't get the joke," and repeated that Emanuel is presenting himself as "the gentle man on television and not the person who voted against $5 million for food aid to Africa," the Chicago News Cooperative reported.

Braun insists she was not comparing Emanuel, who is Jewish, to Hitler.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Braun has drawn attention from comments she's made during her mayoral campaign.

Late last month at a debate this past weekend at the Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St., candidate Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins questioned where Braun had been for 20 years, the latter candidate fired back by saying Watkins had been using crack-cocaine.

"Patricia, the reason you didn't know where I was for the last 20 years is because you were strung out on crack. Now, you have admitted to that," Braun said, staring at Watkins. "You also were in a cult. You have admitted to that."

Braun later apologized for the remark.

While campaigning at 95th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway Monday morning, Braun blamed the media for essentially picking on her.

"You're not scrutinizing dead fish, you're not scrutinizing tampon contents, you're not scrutinizing any of that stuff," Braun said.

She is referring to past reports that Emanuel once sent a pollster a dead fish for being late delivering poll results and news reports that he once told staffers to "Take the tampons out and get to work." Emanuel said at an earlier debate that he never made the "tampons" remark.

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