Worst. Distinction. Ever.

WORST. DISTINCTION. EVER…. The controversy surrounding the Ohio Republican congressional candidate who spent years dressing up as a Nazi officer during WW II re-enactments has just about run its course. The NRCC, which had recruited Rich Iott, has put some distance between him and the party, and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) denounced Iott’s recreational habits on national television.

But before the story goes away entirely, Iott’s campaign team wants the public to be aware of a distinction.

“Rich Iott doesn’t have an anti-Semitic bone in his body,” [said Iott’s spokesperson], who sought to distinguish between a Nazi uniform and an SS uniform, which he said is what Iott is wearing in the now-famous image.

The Nazis were Adolf Hitler’s party — and became shorthand for the German military under his rule — while the SS was an elite squadron of soldiers and law enforcers responsible for a variety of war crimes.

The Atlantic‘s Josh Green, who broke this story on Friday, responded, “If your spokesman is emphasizing distinction between Nazis and SS, your candidacy is probably in trouble.”

Or, as Josh Marshall added, “It wasn’t a Nazi uniform. It was a uniform of the Nazi paramilitary force! Next. It was a concentration camp, not a death camp!”

I suppose the campaign feels compelled to say something, and the “just for fun” line wasn’t cutting it, but some things are surprisingly tough to spin.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.