Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) said this week that he's very sorry for telling his constituents that the federal student loan program is a step down a "slippery slope" to Nazi Germany's Holocaust.

The 86-year-old congressman used the analogy on Wednesday night, speaking to a constituent who asked if he believes the federal government should be issuing student loans. Bartlett replied with a long explanation about how he does not believe the federal government should be involved in any type of education at all, insisting that the Constitution does not authorize it.

Then he added: "[If] you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad. You could. There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other... The Holocaust that occurred in Germany. How in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope."

In a statement issued by his campaign. Rep. Bartlett said he regretted using "an extreme example" to illustrate why he believes public schools should be closed down. "I should never use something as horrific as the Holocaust to make a political point, and I deeply apologize to anyone I may have offended."

Bartlett's opponent, banker John Delaney (D), called the remarks "shockingly inappropriate." He was leading Bartlett in the polls as early as April, but an August survey by a Democratic super PAC showed Delaney and Bartlett in a statistical tie.

This video was published to YouTube on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.