By Jason McLure
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) - A New Hampshire legislator apologized repeatedly on Tuesday for saying "Sieg Heil" during a heated floor exchange with House Speaker Bill O'Brien, a fellow Republican who critics have called a bully.
O'Brien was trying to cut off debate on a controversial voter identification bill and dismiss State Representative Steve Vaillancourt from the speaker's podium when Vaillancourt uttered the phrase associated with loyalty to Adolph Hitler.
"Sieg Heil" is German for "hail victory," and was often shouted at Nazi rallies in the 1930s and 1940s.
"Are you willing to treat everybody fairly or not?" said Vaillancourt, a Republican from Manchester, as he walked away from the podium.
O'Brien responded: "Representative Vaillancourt, another outburst like that and you will be removed from the hall."
O'Brien then directed the legislature's sergeant-at-arms to remove Vaillancourt from the chamber.
At that Vaillancourt returned to the podium. "Sieg Heil," he said into the microphone, drawing murmurs from the other legislators.
Following the incident, the legislature voted to allow Vaillancourt to return if he apologized. Vaillancourt's first three apologies were rejected before a fourth was accepted, said Shannon Shutts, a spokeswoman for O'Brien.
Vaillancourt did not answer calls to his home or office telephones following the incident.
Tea Party favorite O'Brien became speaker in 2010 as Republicans won large majorities in both the New Hampshire senate and house in Concord. Still, he has clashed with many in his party. In January a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats backed a bill banning bullying in the statehouse after Republican Representative Susan Emerson was left weeping after being the subject of a lengthy tirade from the speaker last year.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Walsh)