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NHGOP Calls on Newspaper to Retract 'Insulting' Cartoon

The cartoon shows House Speaker William O'Brien with a Hitler-style mustache.

The state Republican Party is condemning an editorial cartoon in today's Concord Monitor that depicts House Speaker William O'Brien with a Hitler-style mustache.

The cartoon, by Mike Marland, shows a bearded man with "Speaker O'Brien" on his hat, with a Hitler-style mustache. The man is holding a razor, with the caption "If The Mustache Fits..." over his head.

State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, when he shouted "Sieg Heil" at O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, during discussion of the Voter ID bill. Vaillancourt on the House floor.

In a press release issued today, Republican State Committee Chairman Wayne MacDonald criticized the Monitor's cartoon, saying it is "insulting to the institution of the State House" and "should offend all New Hampshire citizens." He called on the newspaper to retract the cartoon and apologize to O'Brien.

“It wasn’t long ago that Democrat Governor John Lynch called for ‘a civil tone in debates,'" MacDonald continued. "Leaders on both sides of the aisle have rightly condemned what was a harshly inappropriate action last week. It’s unfortunate to witness the abandonment of these principles by the Concord Monitor in a way that disrespects our government and the People’s House.”

Concord Monitor Editor Felice Belman wrote a blog post today headlined "Did the mustache cartoon go too far?" that addresses the Republican Party's press release. Here's what she had to say:

"We make room for lots of different views in the Monitor Opinion pages. We’re not looking only for opinions that the newspaper’s editorial board supports – and we don’t ask that our columnists or letter-writers or our cartoonist agree with the board. In fact, in Tuesday’s edition we published an editorial (written by me) that came to a different conclusion about Vaillancourt: 'No, Vaillancourt should not have evoked Adolf Hitler in making his case on the House floor. No, O’Brien should not have squelched the comments of a Democratic lawmaker attempting to make his case on pending legislation.'

When Marland submitted the O’Brien cartoon, there was significant discussion here among the senior editors and our publisher about whether to put it into the paper. In the end, we are not Marland’s censors. He is entitled to his view of the speaker, and his views are his own. This cartoon was harsh, no doubt. But it seemed on point, given last week’s circus. In fact, several Monitor letter writers have made a similar point – in words, if not images.

The point of an editorial cartoon is to get your attention and make you think. In that, for sure, Marland has succeeded."

In response to an email asking for his response to the flap, Marland said only, "I'll be responding with my pen & ink."

The House Republican Office also sent out a press release this afternoon from state Rep. Robert Kingsbury, R-Laconia, who served in World War II.

Kingsbury called the Monitor cartoon "a deeply cutting, personal, inflammatory insult" and said he is "appalled any American would say or depict such a thing." He added that "any comparison of any American political figure to Adolf Hitler is abhorrent to all who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust ..."

Later in the afternoon, the House Republican Office sent out a second email titled, "Open Letter to Concord Monitor Editor Felice Belman," which was signed by House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, and more than three dozen other Republican state representatives.

The letter demanded that Belman denounce the cartoon and issue an apology.

"While Mr. Marland is entitled to be provocative in how he makes his point, he should be ashamed of himself and apologize to the Speaker as well. And so should you," the letter reads.

John Gawron May 23, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Freedom of the Press means Freedom of the Press "Live Free or Die" --- Where have I seen that motto while traveling the highways and byways of this great country?
Illissa May 23, 2012 at 10:59 PM
"Leaders on both sides of the aisle have rightly condemned what was a harshly inappropriate action last week. It’s unfortunate to witness the abandonment of these principles by the Concord Monitor in a way that disrespects our government and the People’s House." What's more UNFORTUNATE is that the PEOPLE'S HOUSE SEEKS TO DISENFRANCHISE THE PEOPLE'S VOTE! Steve V. WAS CORRECT! and he should've resigned before apologizing, but now that he has, he should switch sides & become a Democrat!
ForThePeople May 23, 2012 at 11:14 PM
There is a truth to this behind all of the inappropriate remarks. The speaker of the house has disenfranchised all citizens regardless of party with his antics.
Michigan_Joe May 23, 2012 at 11:21 PM
I'm glad Republicans stand up for calling out bigots. The best place though is within their own party. That could keep them busy for a few decades.
Freedom May 23, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Interesting how the GOP use the insulting "Democrat Governor" instead of the correct "Deocratic Governor" while whining about the tone of the discourse.
FalstaffsMind May 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM
The Nazis sought to control the press too.
Lewis Cisle May 24, 2012 at 12:53 AM
If it talks like a fascist, if it walks like a fascist, if it looks like a fascist....well two out of three is good enough. Besides looks don't count.
Bee Wayne May 24, 2012 at 04:28 AM
My Message to the GOP Party: Adolf Hitler silenced his critics too ... the more you GOPers open your mouth the more you remind "the People" of Hitler and HIS atrocities.
kathleen carpenter May 24, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Quite frankly the State House offends me. I have called them alot worse. O'Brien is a mean, nasty Bully. He bullies people in his own party. He ha a couple of Reps who were having temporary disability problems with their legs; broken leg, etc. these people in his own party asked if the could because of their temporary disabilities change their seats so they could sit on an aisle so they could keep their leg out on the aisle. It was an issue to sit with legs scrunched up and being in pain. The people sitting on the aisle had no problem....agreed to switch seats inter the other guys were better. O'Brien because he is mean, nasty and a control freak told them no. They could not change sets...not even the other reps in the State House agreed to it. No explanation from Obrien just no and these are his own people. He is a tyrant and a bully and he doesn't like it when it is pointed out to him. Freedom of the Press. O'Brien take a look at your license plate....LIVE FREE OR DIE. IT DOESN'T MEAN JUST YOU!
zulu May 24, 2012 at 08:44 AM
Wow!!!!
Bee Wayne May 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Hocus Pocus I just reported you for being an online stalker and for giving false information under poster's comments. You have NO IDEA where any of these people are from.
Bob Klepak May 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Are we raising a generation of lily-livered political wuses ? There was a time that is one Pol called another a name, accused them of some immoral or illegal act, the offended Pol would either challenge the first to a duel (see Aaron Burr) or fire back some expletive or expose’ , and move on. Now the pussies that we elect or seek office take umbrage at everything, including, and not limited to, Good Morning. Instant calls for apologies and or resignations and condemnations from friends and allies of the offender are demanded. Pols are offended by cartoons, unedited reprints and Youtube videos of them speaking, voluntarily. If they are really that offended by the daily back & forth of running for office, how the “F” will they handle their own constituencies outrage? Betty White said it best when she rebuked those who suggest that a person grow a set, and suggested a vagina, instead as unlike delicate & sensitive testicles, vaginas take a pounding.
lefty May 24, 2012 at 02:56 PM
what's the matter, the republicans can't take it? they don't like it?? well, they were fine, when there were some terrible, racial, bigotted, bumper stickers, circulating about the President of the UnIted states. they were fine, when madman, ted nugent, came out with his ridiculous, mean-spirtied, treasonous, threatening remarks, about our leaders.............. they don't like it, tough.....
Tony Schinella (Editor) May 24, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I've just posted a follow up to this story with the latest response from the Concord Monitor: http://patch.com/A-t5Lx
Tony Schinella (Editor) May 24, 2012 at 07:13 PM
New Hampshire House Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt, R-Salem, responds to the issue in this video: http://patch.com/A-t6kt
Patriot May 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM
By Karen Langley / Monitor staff April 1, 2011 * This DJ Bettencourt??????? * House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt this morning wrote on his Facebook page that Catholic Bishop John McCormack is a “pedophile pimp” with “absolutely no moral credibility to lecture anyone.” http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/248946/bettencourt-catholic-bishop-is-pedophile-pimp?page=full
Patriot May 24, 2012 at 10:40 PM
OH come on Lefty, Have yo u listened to the remarks made against President Bush, Sarah Palin and other republicans? Political Satire is just that and most politicians deal with it with grace.
Patriot May 24, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Other than the shock factor I found nothing wrong with the remark. The speaker flexed his muscle and was met with a strong verbal response.

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