US Democratic Representative from Florida Alan Grayson wears a Stars and Stripes tie as he stands outside the Senate chamber at the US Capitol in Washington on September 30, 2013. (Getty Images)
(USA Today) -- Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida sent a fundraising pitch equating the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan, which includes an image of a burning cross for the letter "T."
The fundraising e-mail plays off an interview Grayson did last week with Al Sharpton on MSNBC, after the federal government reopened following a 16-day shutdown. "The Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan," Grayson said in that interview -- a transcript of which the Florida lawmaker posted on Twitter Monday night, along with link to a donation page.
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"Ask yourself this: Who else in American public life today is as honest and as blunt as this? Congressman Alan Grayson deserves your support, like no one else," reads the end of Grayson's message. "He, and only he, is saying the things that you are thinking, and so much need to be said."
The National Republican Congressional Committee is highlighting Grayson's fundraising e-mail and Klan comment. Matt Gorman, a spokesman for the House GOP campaign committee, said Grayson is using "hateful words and imagery" that should be condemned by House Democrats.
Grayson was elected to Florida's 9th Congressional District last year, after he was defeated for re-election in 2010 in a different House seat. He has been known for outspoken and combative comments, including saying during a House speech on health care that, "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."