FOX News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen riled Republicans Wednesday after he compared Barack Obama to Jesus Christ and suggested Sarah Palin is akin to Pontius Pilate.
The Tennessee Democrat, who supports Obama, was on the House floor giving a one-minute speech when he offered the comparisons.
“If you want change, you want the Democratic Party,” Cohen said. “Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus, who our minister prayed about. Pontius Pilate was a governor.”
A similar statement has been circulating in e-mails and on blogs in recent days, before Cohen spoke Wednesday.
But Cohen was referencing shots Palin took at Obama during her address last week at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Palin, a former mayor, poked fun at Obama for crediting his work as a community organizer, saying, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee objected to Cohen’s statements Wednesday in a press release, pointing out that Pilate sentenced Christ to death and asking, “What point was Cohen trying to make?”
Cohen’s remarks also play into Republican charges that Obama fancies himself a celebrity-like or messianic figure in the 2008 race. They also come on the heels of Obama’s comment Tuesday that “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”
Palin supporters allege the oft-used expression was directed at Palin, who joked in the same speech that the difference between hockey moms like her and pit bulls is lipstick.