The head of an Anne Arundel County Republican women's group has apologized for a Web posting comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, after the posting received national attention on blogs and cable television news.
Joyce E. Thomann, president of the Republican Women of Anne Arundel County, wrote in a letter on the group's Web site that "Obama and Hitler have a great deal in common in my view. Obama and Hitler use the 'blitzkrieg' method to overwhelm their enemies. FAST, CARPET BOMBING intent on destruction. Hitler's blitzkrieg bombing destroyed many European cities - quickly and effectively. Obama is systematically destroying the American economy and with it AMERICA."
As criticism of the posting mounted this week, the board of directors of the group denounced Thomann's writings Thursday and two Republican candidates for Annapolis alderman returned her campaign donations. Soon after, Thomann apologized.
In a statement read by her husband, Charles Thomann, a Republican member of the Maryland State Board of Elections, she called her wording a "poor choice."
"I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity I have exhibited by the use of the term 'blitzkrieg' and the name of Adolf Hitler. This wording was a poor choice," the statement said. "I believe President Obama is an honorable man and a dignified public servant and as such he's worthy of our great honor and respect."
Charles Thomann said his wife is in Denver caring for her 96-year-old mother, and could not be reached for comment.
Earlier Thursday, the GOP women organization's Web site posted an "urgent message" from its board of directors saying the article was placed "solely by Thomann" and that the board never saw or approved it.
"We are not in support of Mrs. Thomann's personal thoughts or opinions," the message said. Members of the board could not be reached for comment.
An Annapolis resident and longtime Republican activist, Joyce Thomann became the object of scorn since the Hitler comparison was picked up by the Huffington Post Web site.
On Wednesday night's Countdown, hosted by liberal commentator Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, Olbermann named Thomann a runner-up during a nightly segment that names the "worst person in the world."
"Why haven't you thrown this representative of your party out on her Anne Arundel?" Olbermann mocked.
Kory Blake, chairman of the county Democratic Central Committee, called Thomann's statement "appalling," and two candidates for Annapolis alderman returned Thomann's personal political campaign contributions.
Gregory Stiverson, a candidate for city council in Ward 6, said he returned a $50 contribution to his campaign from Thomann and has asked that she remove references to his candidacy from the Web site.
Stiverson said he wrote Joyce Thomann a letter "to say that the comparison was despicable and I want no part of it."
Scott Bowling, a Ward 3 alderman candidate, said in a statement that he returned a contribution because the rhetoric was "unacceptable, useless and destructive."