Florida's unpopular Republican Gov. Rick Scott compared criticism of capitalism -- in particular, attacks on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital -- to Nazi persecution during the Holocaust on Thursday, warning business leaders not to remain silent.
According to the Miami Herald, at a board meeting with a group of Florida's private business leaders, Scott urged people to speak up, paraphrasing a famous statement on complacency during the Nazi era: "I've got a quote in my office," he said. "First they came for the Jews, and I wasn't a Jew so I didn't say anything."
Romney has recently come under fire for his work with private equity firm Bain Capital.
"We've got to defend the freedom of the free market," Scott said. "If we don't defend the free market, they'll pick on somebody. Now they're picking on Bain Capital, then they'll pick on somebody else."
Later, Scott clarified his remarks to reporters, saying that he had used the quote to illustrate how capitalism must always be defended.
From the Associated Press:
"I have the quote in my office, and the reason is I have it is, we all have to think about watch(ing) what's going on out there," Scott said.
"Look at what's happening in our society," he added. "I believe the free market is good for families. And I believe we should defend the free market. When you see somebody being attacked because they believe in the American Dream, we need to go out and say, gosh I would like to live the American Dream. All of us would like to live that American Dream."
Although his statements would appear to be in support of Romney, who has faced vicious attacks from his rivals about his business record, Scott has made clear he will not be endorsing a GOP presidential candidate ahead of the state's Jan. 31 primary.
"I think the right thing to do is to have these candidates come and campaign, he said during an appearance on Fox News.
Given his unpopularity in the state, the candidates may be grateful that he's not aligning himself with any one of them.