Republican congressional candidate Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known to Americans as Joe The Plumber, is standing by a comically bizarre campaign video released this week in which he suggests gun control led to both the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust.
In 1911, Turkey established gun control, the Ohio Republican says in the video, as the camera focuses on a close up of him loading a shotgun with ammunition. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated. In 1939, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.
After that little history lesson, Wurzelbacher is shown doing target practice with fruit, before looking into the camera with a smile and declaring, I love America.
While Wurzelbacher may have intended the campaign spot to highlight what he and the Republican Party believe is a hallmark of American privilege -- the ability to bear arms outlined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution -- the National Jewish Democratic Council President and CEO David A. Harris demanded an apology, saying in a statement that to imply that these innocent lives were taken because of gun control laws is simply beyond the pale.
However, the Wurzelbacher campaign is standing by the advertisement and its accusations. On Tuesday, Wurzelbacher's spokesman, Phil Christofanelli, told Politicker that the candidate is a student of history who understands that the Second Amendment was always the people's last defense against a tyrannical government.
Wurzelbacher added his own opinion in an interview with Politico.
If people are looking to be offended by this video, they are probably serving a political agenda. Unfortunately there are a lot of whiners out there, he said.
Wurzelbacher shot into the national scene during the 2008 presidential election, when he challenged then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama about his small business tax policy. The McCain-Palin campaign began referring to Wurzelbacher, an employee of a plumbing contractor, as Joe the Plumber as a representative of middle class American concerns.
Wurzelbacher is challenging Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur for Ohio's 9th congressional district. Kaptur notably beat longtime Rep. Dennis Kucinich in a Democratic primary race for the district.