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On Monday, Rep. Randy Weber of Texas pulled a time-honored stunt, using new media, in just two easy steps.

First, he invoked the worst possible historical figure (Adolf Hitler) he could think of in a critical comparison to a modern-day leader (Barack Obama). Next, when called on his hackneyed trick, Weber quickly apologized and claimed he wasn’t meaning to forge a connection between the two figures.

Weber made the reference in a tweet that blasted Obama for the president’s absence from Sunday’s show of international solidarity in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo shootings Jan. 7.

Here’s a quick rundown of Weber’s tour de Twitter from the New York Daily News:

“Even Adolph Hitler thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris. (For all the wrong reasons.) Obama couldn’t do it for right reasons,” Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.) tweeted late Monday.

[…] But on Tuesday afternoon, Weber issued a statement of apology for the reference.

“I need to first apologize to all those offended by my tweet. It was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler,” Weber said.

By then, of course, the work of linking Obama to Hitler was already done. While inappropriate invocations of the Holocaust are as relentless as they are tiresome, Weber’s maneuver suggests that those willing to go that route still believe the payoff is worth the potential PR fallout.

In this case, the World Jewish Congress figured among the parties who took issue with Weber’s strategy and called for his apology. His resulting statement strained the bounds of credulity with brow-knitters like “I now realize that the use of Hitler invokes pain and emotional trauma for those affected by the atrocities of the Holocaust and victims of anti-Semitism and hate” — but that’s why he makes the big bucks on Capitol Hill.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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