By Toby Harnden in Washington
Last Updated: 1:14am BST 15/07/2007
America's first Muslim congressman has provoked outrage by apparently comparing President George W Bush to Adolf Hitler and hinting that he might have been responsible for the September 11 attacks.
Addressing a gathering of atheists in his home state of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, a Democrat, compared the 9/11 atrocities to the destruction of the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933. This was probably burned down by the Nazis in order to justify Hitler's later seizure of emergency powers.
"It's almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that," Mr Ellison said. "After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted."
To applause from his audience of 300 members of Atheists for Human Rights, Mr Ellison said he would not accuse the Bush administration of planning 9/11 because "you know, that's how they put you in the nut-ball box---dismiss you."
Oh, not if the US press continues to cover up for you, Congressman Ellison. You can say the most crackpot stuff and never have to answer for it. Being a Democrat in this country means never having to say you're sorry. Must be nice.