House Candidate Rich Iott Defends Nazi Uniform Photos

Tea Party favorite Rich Iott calls photo controversy "false character attacks."

ByABC News
October 10, 2010, 2:28 PM

Oct. 10, 2010— -- Rich Iott, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House in northwest Ohio, said he is the victim of "false character attacks," after photos of him wearing a Nazi uniform were published last week.

Photos of Iott -- a Tea Party favorite who is running against Democrat Marcy Kaptur for a Congressional seat in Ohio's 9th District -- posing in a Nazi uniform in a WWII reenactment were discovered by The Atlantic magazine and published in an online article last week.

"Never, in any of my re-enacting of military history, have I meant any disrespect to anyone who served in our military or anyone who has been affected by the tragedy of war, especially the Jewish Community," Iott said in a press release posted Saturday on his campaign website,

In the press release, titled "Rich Iott Statement on the Latest Kaptur Campaign Lie," Iott also published several images of him dressed for other military reenactments that he participated in with the group Wiking from 2003 to 2007, including an image of him in a U.S. World War I military uniform and one with him and his son Ian in Union soldier uniforms from the Civil War.

Iott said he has been involved with historical reenactments from different eras since graduating from college and his interest in reenactment is purely historical.

"This election needs to be about issues, not false character attacks ... I hope my opponent will join me in condemning these blatant distortions and attacks and pledge to focus on the issues that Ohioans so desperately want Washington to address," Iott wrote.

Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought said the Wiking reenactment group promotes "a twisted and dangerous view of history" and Iott's involvement with the organization is "outrageous and indefensible."