WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI and police were investigating after a swastika was painted outside Rep. David Scott's district office in Georgia, an act the suburban Atlanta Democrat said reflects an increasingly hateful and racist debate over health care and should remind people to tone down their rhetoric.
Scott's staff arrived at his Smyrna, Ga., office Tuesday morning to find the Nazi graffiti emblazoned on a sign bearing the lawmaker's name. The vandalism occurred roughly a week after Scott was involved in a confrontational argument over health care at a community meeting.
Scott said his office immediately notified authorities, including the U.S. Capitol Police, who have warned lawmakers about potential threats stemming from the increasingly emotional debate over health care reform. An FBI spokesman said the bureau is investigating along with Capitol Police and the Smyrna Police Department.
The congressman's office is located in a bank building and Scott said he was optimistic that surveillance cameras captured the vandalism.
Scott, who is black, said he also has received mail in recent days that used N-word references to him, and that characterized President Barack Obama as a Marxist.
"We have got to make sure that the symbol of the swastika does not win, that the racial hatred that's bubbling up does not win this debate," Scott said in a telephone interview. "There's so much hatred out there for President (Barack) Obama."
A moderate Democrat who represents a majority-white district near Atlanta, Scott said he thinks the racism is isolated but can't be ignored. He said the swastika probably was intended as a warning.
He hopes it instead persuades reasonable people to maintain a more substantive debate over health care changes.
"We must not allow it to intimidate us," he said.
At an Aug. 1 community meeting in Douglasville, Ga., Scott angrily yelled at protesters who peppered him with questions and complaints about Democratic health care proposals. He has said he was upset that they interrupted a meeting that was supposed to be about plans for a new highway in the area.
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Rep. David Scott: http://davidscott.house.gov