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Bush's image morphed into Hitler in MoveOn website
( 2004-01-05 16:40) (Agencies)

The liberal activist group MoveOn.org came under fire Sunday from Republicans over a television ad on its Web site that morphed an image of U.S. President Bush into Adolf Hitler.

The 30-second spot was one of more than 1,500 entries for a contest MoveOn.org sponsored to find one that "tells the truth about George Bush's policies."

"This is the worst and most vile form of political hate speech," Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said in a statement. He also called on the Democratic presidential candidates to renounce the ad.

Eli Pariser, campaign director for MoveOn.org, said the ad appeared on the Web site with hundreds of others submitted by the public and voted on during a two-week period. They were removed Dec. 31, when the voting period had ended.

The ad shows images of Bush with text saying, "God told me to strike at al-Qaeda," before turning to images of Hitler with the words, "And then He instructed me to strike at Saddam." The ad ends with the words, "Sound familiar?" on a black and white screen.

Pariser said his group tried to screen out "ads in poor taste like this one," and that MoveOn.org would never consider running such an ad.

Even so, Jewish groups expressed their outrage.

"To use Hitler in a way like this is grotesque and outrageous. He was such a heinous individual that it's unseemly to bring him into the American political debate," said James Tisch, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Meanwhile, MoveOn.org will announce its 15 finalists on Monday. Pariser said the Hitler ads is not among them.

A panel of judges, including such Democratic stalwarts as actor-director Michael Moore, campaign strategists Donna Brazile and James Carville and actor Jack Black will select the winner, to be announced Jan. 12.

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