(ALTOONA MIRROR) — At a Hollidaysburg rally earlier this month, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith said Spring Cove government teacher Philip Waite spoke “eloquently.”

A day later, he called Waite’s words “divisive and beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse.”

Waite’s 45-minute speech on executive power, given at a July 1 Blair County Tea Party rally, led to criticism from state Democrats, attention from a national news website and a handful of “hate emails.”

But despite allegations that Waite compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, Spring Cove School District officials have said it’s not a classroom concern.

“People do have freedom of speech in the public arena,” Superintendent Robert Vadella said. “That’s what we teach the kids.”

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