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Published: Tuesday, 10/12/2010

Several Iott campaign signs defaced with swastikas

BLADE STAFF

Swastikas have appeared on several campaign signs for Republican Rich Iott Tuesday in the wake of a controversy over his engaging in war re-enactments as a German World War II soldier.

An Iott sign on the Anthony Wayne Trail near downtown was defaced with a spray-painted swastika, the symbol of Adolf Hitler's infamous Third Reich.

In the Wichgreen Farms development off Brint Road in Sylvania, Iott signs were plastered with a swastika-adorned document saying, "You are what you pretend Mr. Iott."

Matt Parker, a spokesman for the Iott campaign, said, "People with no class and a lot of hate" are defacing Mr. Iott's signs.

Mr. Iott is running against 9th District Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in the Nov. 2 election.

Mr. Parker said he did not blame the Kaptur campaign directly but claimed that Miss Kaptur and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern have "ginned up" the issue of Mr. Iott's re-enactment activities, inciting people to acts of vandalism.

Mary Chris Skeldon, spokesman for Miss Kaptur, said a number of Miss Kaptur's signs have been stolen in the past week, but she hasn't tried to blame Mr. Iott or the news media.

"Obviously we condemn vandalism of any kind, including that of political signs," Ms. Skeldon said. "For him to blame the actions of others on our campaign is ridiculous and a sign of desperation."

The Atlantic, a national news magazine, on Friday published photos online of Mr. Iott in a Nazi soldier uniform and revealed Mr. Iott's former involvement with a group that re-enacts the Waffen SS. Mr. Iott said he was not a Nazi admirer and was in the group out of historical interest.

In a debate Monday night, Mr. Iott accused Miss Kaptur of coordinating a character assassination of him.

Miss Kaptur said she found his activities "disturbing," but had no knowledge of his re-enactment past-time until it was reported in the media. She called on Mr. Iott to take responsibility for his own actions.

RELATED STORY: Thin Slices: Rich Iott story provides fodder for Stewart and Colbert



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