From NBC's Shawna Thomas and Luke Russert
When Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, speaks before the GOP Steering Committee later this week to make his case for leading the House Energy and Commerce panel, he will present himself as the General Patton to Presumptive Speaker Boehner's Eisenhower -- ready to do battle against the Obama administration.
Barton's nine-slide PowerPoint presentation, sent to NBC by a Democratic aide and confirmed by Barton's office, reads like a laundry list of accomplishments and GOP priorities -- that is, until the last slide.
That slide, titled "What's in Store for the Obama Administration, states that "Speaker Boehner is our Dwight Eisenhower in the battle against the Obama Administration. Majority Leader Cantor is our Omar Bradley. I want to be George Patton - put anything in my scope and I will shoot it."
With those parallels, Barton aligns himself and congressional Republicans with American military heroes of the Second World War. By that comparison, he could be perceived as likening opponents of congressional Republicans to Germany's Nazi regime.
Barton's office could not be reached for comment. Phone calls and e-mails to several aides on the congressman’s staff were not immediately returned. ***
UPDATE TWO *** Barton's office confirmed the authenticity of the slide but has not responded to a request for further comment but an aide to the congressman said that it is "ludicrous" to suggest the comparison between GOP leaders and World War II generals sets up a parallel between Obama and the enemy regimes of that era.
"It is completely ludicrous to make that leap," said Sean Brown, Barton's press secretary.
While two senior GOP aides see this as a "tone deaf" move by Barton, Republican House leadership declined to comment on the matter on the record.
Patton, the famously outspoken World War II army general, served as a commander of forces in North Africa and Sicily until being removed from the job for slapping a soldier. But the general, renowned as a brilliant tactician, later went on to lead several successful military missions in the European theater.
Eisenhower, who served as the U.S. Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and later as the General of the Army during World War II, was charged with leading the D-Day invasion on the coast of Normandy in 1944. Bradley, like Eisenhower a five-star General, commanded troops landing on Utah and Omaha beaches during the D-Day invasion.
Many Republicans distanced themselves from Barton when he offered an apology to BP Chairman Tony Hayward at a hearing earlier this year. Barton apologized for the White House requiring BP to setup an independent fund to aid Gulf Coast residents and described it as a "$20 billion shakedown."
Msnbc.com's Carrie Dann contributed.