Top California Dem likens Ryan to Nazi Joseph Goebbels
September 3rd, 2012
08:08 PM ET
2 years ago

Top California Dem likens Ryan to Nazi Joseph Goebbels

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) - The chairman of the Democratic Party in California walked back his statements comparing Rep. Paul Ryan to a Nazi propagandist on Monday, shortly before emceeing an event ahead of the Democratic National Convention.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, John Burton said Ryan's convention speech last week contained fabrications that amounted to a "bold-faced lie."

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"They lie and they don't care if people think they lie … Joseph Goebbels – it's the big lie, you keep repeating it - a bold-faced lie and he doesn't care that it was a lie. That was Goebbels, the big lie," Burton said Monday before a breakfast for the California delegation in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A close partner of Adolf Hitler, Goebbels held a top leadership position in the Third Reich, where he was largely in charge of designing propaganda and anti-Semitic messaging for the party.

Burton on Monday was primarily referring to a line in Ryan's speech that appeared to place blame on President Barack Obama for the closure of a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin.

During his first bid for president, Obama spoke to the plant's autoworkers at a campaign rally in February 2008. In Ryan's speech last week at the GOP convention, the vice presidential nominee quoted Obama as saying, "If our government is there to support you ... this plant will be here for another hundred years."

Ryan, however, concluded: "That plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day."

Critics quickly jumped on the statement, and a number of fact-checkers, including CNN, said his comment wasn't completely accurate. While it's true the factory closed during Obama's first year in office, the decision to do so occurred in summer 2008, before he was elected to the presidency.

On Monday, the California Democratic chairman blasted Ryan for the statement, saying “He lied on something that was just, like, right there. And what that says is, you don’t tell the truth."

The state's Republican Party wasted no time firing off a statement disparaging Burton for making the comments Monday.

"This is exactly the kind of desperate, deranged rhetoric the Democrats are going to employ in order to distract voters from their failed record over the past four years," the statement read. "While Republicans are offering voters real solutions and bold choices, Democrats sound like they'll be resorting to personal attacks and insults."

Responding to the flurry late Monday afternoon, Burton issued a statement to "correct" the reports.

"To correct press reports of my recent comments about Republican lies, I did not call Republicans Nazis nor would I ever. In fact, I didn't even use the word," he said in a statement. "If Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, or the Republicans are insulted by my describing their campaign tactic as the big lie – I most humbly apologize to them or anyone who might have been offended by that comment."

The dust-up occurred one day after the California delegation made news on another front. A delegate was asked to step aside Sunday from his position as a voting delegate at this week's convention after an incident with police at a Charlotte hotel.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • California • Democratic National Convention • Paul Ryan
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. gt

    this nut needs to be fired.....

    September 3, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. hangar13

    I guess this is the civil tone the President has been lecturing us mortals about. Please, please, please, November, hurry up and get here!!!

    September 3, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  3. Liz the First

    When someone gives his biggest speech of the campaign and his pants burst into flames six times, you either have to ask yourself is he that stupid or that evil? or both? i vote for both. maybe not Nazi evil, but the rethugs certainly take a lot from their playbook. they are convinced that if you repeat a lie enough, it will become true. they are against anyone who's different. they are anti-abortion. (one of the first thing Hitler did when he came to power was to ban abortion.) i'm sure they're not thinking about sending anyone to concentration camps but if folks are reminded of Nazi tactics, there's a reason.

    September 3, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  4. Russ in Md.

    Did you know that our country was as united 12 years ago as it was when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese? In Sep. 2007 the country was still very united in our common goal. I have never seen more hate between Americans than I have since Obama took office. Still think you’re better off?

    September 3, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  5. Shirley Bradley

    American politicians on the right seem to us in Canada to present a lot of contradictions. You are "the richest/free-est/most generous ..." country in the world; and you have huge poverty,bad infant mortality rates, are great on 'faith-based', but bomb mosques, have a "haven for freedom-seekers" and the most stringent immigration policies, fences, border guards armed, etc. You have, says Governor Christie (?)–New Jersey__, the best medical care in the world. We think you are to be pitied, paying for hospital care, visits to doctors, only selected illnesses being treated if you do have insurance, and 43 M of your citizens with no insurance: our most conservative politicians do not tinker with universal medical care, and we don't understand why wonderfully inventive, freedom-loving, faith-filled people are so afraid to pay into a universal system of medical care. And what's this North American self-sufficiency in oil? Canadians might disagree with that definition - you should ask.

    September 3, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. Nuance

    He was simply telling the truth in a "politically correct environment". Ryan is a liar....all there is to it...

    September 3, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  7. No Sides

    "I pray that sense and reason brings us in..." Admit that the comment may be over the top, but for those of you that haven't, I strongly suggest reading "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", it'll provoke some thought in objective readers.

    September 3, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. T'sah From Virginia

    The PROBLEM with the Republicans raising this question about "are you better off than you were 4 years ago" is the fact that it will BACKFIRE on them. America on a whole is doing much better than what was going on 4 years ago - PERIOD!! But think about it; what would have happened if the Republican Party worked with President Obama? Also, THINK about this – What if there was a Republican incumbent at this time... Hmm, would the Republicans be asking "are you better off than you were 4 years ago ??? Hell NO they won't!!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward and YES, We Know You Built That – We ALL Did!!!

    September 3, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  9. scranton

    What an bold face liar Burton is. Obviously he missed Cooper Anderson's interview with lying DNC mouthpiece Debbie Wasserman Schultz when she keep repeating her lie and Cooper wouldn't let her get by with it.

    September 3, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  10. T'sah From Virginia

    Come on Democrats – We DO NOT have to stoop as low as the Republicans – let's leave the word NAZI out of mouth and just tell the TRUTH – The TRUTH hurts, remember???

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward and YES, We Know You Built That – We ALL Did!!!

    September 3, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  11. hmp49

    Too bad he mentioned Goebbels.

    He was exactly right in his description of Ryan's tactics, and it was precisely the same as Goebbels.

    But you're not supposed to say that.

    September 3, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. Time for change

    Neither party is honest when campaigning. But my problem with the President is he has not been truthful even after being elected he told us that his presidency would be open it is not, he told us that the Healthcare plan would not be formulated behind close doors but it was. So please tell me how the Democrats can complain about the Republicans when they are no better.

    September 3, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. Sam A

    Feigned outrage.John Burton only had the courage to say what most of us have been thinking and saying privately. Good for him.

    September 3, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  14. Jonathan

    Panic mongering, ad hominem, projection, rewriting history, scapegoating, bullying, confusion, anti-intellectualism, guilt by association, diversion ... these are all tactics totalitarian regimes use to gain/hold power.

    And one of the best ones ... divide the populace against itself. They've been very successful so far.

    September 3, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. Bill from GA

    The truth hurts.

    September 3, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. Name recovering canadian

    Shirley, I have a few relatives left in Canada, and they worry about not being able to come here for health care any more. Several of our relatives have died due to neglect in your wonderful health care system, compare the survival rates of treatment between the US and Canada. If we go through with Obama care bureau crats will delay treatment and kill inovation, have you ever tried to get anything accomplished with a Govt. Agency here?

    September 3, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  17. RML

    More shiney lights and feigned outrage from a party that calls the president a socialist, paints his face white and puts bones in his nose during their rallies. This stuff needs to stop...I am tired of the back and forth. So much like small children

    September 3, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  18. ProudVet

    Obama wants the USA to fall. He has the power to fix it but choose instead a path to more debt while pushing his personal agenda...obamacare. He does not believe in the USA as a true patriot. We must continue to be the superpower and put our noses where they belong...in every countries business. If we don't don't someone like China will... I refuse to speak Chinese and unless we do something now it's only going to get worse.

    September 3, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  19. Greg

    The proof is in the pudding. The entire theme of the GOP convention was the deliberate misreading of the "you didn't build that" quote. Ryan's lies at the convention were relatively well covered, but Romney claimed that Obama raised our taxes. Repubs can't admit that our well being is dependent on the provision of public goods, so they lie about the message when someone points that out, and lie about the fact that their masters demand dismantling of social insurance in this country. Ryan tells us "[t]he truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves" yet would give Medicare up to profiteers, eventually thereby forcing its recipients (after exhaustion of the rest of their assets) into Medicaid, which he would severely slash before they end up on it. This will cause the untimely death of millions if it comes to pass. This is the Koch/Romney plan, and failing to own up to its logical consequences is the big lie.

    September 3, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  20. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    I totally disagree. He is not like Goebbels. He is more like Reinhard Heydrich – the architect of the Final Solution. I base this on Ryan's belief that anyone he finds unworthy doesn't deserve education, employment, healthcare, nutrition, or any other service of support provided by the federal government. Of course, this from a man who's family fortune is based on Government construction contracts.

    September 3, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  21. Phil

    Yeah, the Chairman has the process correct: tell a lie enough times and they'll believe it. It was true in 30's and remains true now.

    September 3, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  22. truth hurts

    Wait. First lets see how many negative people President Obama was compared to. Lets start there.
    Then lets see if the Ryan statement actually holds any weight.

    In my opinion, there are many many things I can compare Ryan too. Ayn Rand for one...

    September 3, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  23. Michael

    Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and his Repuglican leadership are liars, it seems the truth hurts! Paul Ryan and the 112th Congressional Republicans have introduced: 46 Bills on Abortion,113 Bills on Religion, 73 bills on family relationships, 36 bills on marriage,72 bills on firearms, 604 bills on taxation, and 467 bills on government investigations, but BLOCKED the American Jobs Act. Not a bad deal for those who only work 9 days a month for full pay and benefits! Lucky for us, they've made repealing Obamacare a priority for the 31st time again recently. Repulicans like Ryan think Americans are stupid like sheep, and if you keep lying to them (leading them to the slaughter house with lies) they will not realize it until too late when (Romney's elected)! They are professional liars and con men!

    September 3, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. Obama Cares

    We are better off today than we were 4 years ago, no doubt.

    September 3, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  25. Lizzie

    Divide and conquer, slogan of the democrats.

    September 3, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
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