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McCaskill suspends staffer over 'brownshirts' comment

McCaskill staff member Bob Burns appears in a video recorded last summer, but just recently posted to a blog.

By Matt Sepic, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – Senator Claire McCaskill has suspended a staff member without pay for comparing conservative activists to Nazi brownshirts.

The Missouri Democrat says staffer Bob Burns made the comments last summer, as opponents of the health care overhaul disrupted public forums on the issue.

The blog "24th State" posted the video last Thursday, and McCaskill immediately apologized.

In her weekly conference call with reporters Wednesday, she said the comments were out of line.

"I am embarrassed that a member of my staff would say something like that," McCaskill said. "He's been suspended for a week without pay, and he'll remain on probation after that time."

McCaskill said opponents of the health care overhaul are patriotic Americans, and she's glad they have the right to voice their opinions.