Top California Dem likens Ryan to Nazi Joseph Goebbels
September 3rd, 2012
08:08 PM ET
6 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. Thomas

    Ryan is married to a lobbyist, his family made there fortune off of government contracts.

    Are you kidding me , Joseph Goebbels wore a uniform !
    Obama wants the USA to fall ? If your a vet , he has done more to help you then the last guy .
    "Mission Accomplished"

    September 3, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  2. prtyofstupid

    Truth is the truth...spewing propagnda and lies is all the GOP has to offer. Is this as good as it gets? Let's be original people, can you not talk about the issues without inserting bold-face lies?

    September 3, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  3. basky72

    Paul Ryan the Liar.
    What in the world would you say that I you are not lying. Because you have been lying almost about everything

    September 3, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  4. mhklein

    I'm a strong Obama supporter but these kinds of comments are beyond the pale. I would never compare any Republicans to the Nazis no matter how much I disagree with them. Let's bring some civility into this debate!

    September 3, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  5. Tony

    Romney has hundreds of million in campaign funds. The mother of all Big Lie campaigns is coming.

    September 3, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  6. Mark

    I have no problems with this. You don't like the comparison, stop lying. I know, the GOP campaign isn't going to be controlled by "fact checkers". Then prepared to be called liars. If the media would do their job, the campaign would not get away with this. However, the media is more interested in access and advertising dollars than being the fourth estate.

    September 4, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  7. Danny

    I watched both the Romney and Obama revieled – Why is it that we saw Ronmey's life from several generations past – thru every school, job, engagement, marrage, business, and politics – BUT not one picture or detail about Obama's college years, except that he graduated, or some details of the cases he worked on as a lawyer? Also clearly omitted is the fact that Obama is a millionaire himself, and never went hungry a day in his life going to that private grade school. He really knows nothing about struggling to pay bills, or being out of work, and he never will.

    September 4, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  8. JohnRJohnson

    I don't think that this kind of rhetoric helps anybody, especially Barack Obama. It's enough to just point out Ryan's lies. You don't have to jump into the mud to do that. The Big Lie was used long before Joseph Goebbels gave it a name.

    September 4, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  9. pat carr

    phony outrage. how about all the slurs "communist, socialist, "community organizer", the "kenyan", blah blah blah. the GOP can dish it out but can't take it

    September 4, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  10. Alan

    I am no Paul Ryan fan, but to compare him to a man who was instrumental in the warmongering and genocide of the Nazi party isn't appropriate. Stick to the facts–there are more than enough valid criticisms.

    September 4, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  11. Jorge

    I'm hispanic. I was born and raised in a country with a socialist government. My parents fled and came to this great country, legally, to escape all this socialist garbage. Obama simply is not the lesser of two evils.

    September 4, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  12. April Moreno

    Ryan is the equivelent of a Nazi to women, children, college students, the elderly, science, and evolution!!!!!!

    September 4, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  13. ForwardGyrll

    Repeating falsehoods again and again, i.e. "the big lie", is a mainstay used by experts in propaganda, which Joseph Goebbels mastered and Karl Rove practices quite well. Read Wikipedia's description for a step by step list of tools employed to mold public opinion, and be aware to avoid being manipulated.

    September 4, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  14. laodegan

    This is awesome. The Dems have already lost the debate when they are resorting to calling GOP candidates Nazis.

    September 4, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  15. MagicPanties

    Yes, Ryan/Romney/GOP just like Goebbels.
    They repeat big lies in hopes the masses will be hoodwinked.
    Karl Rove is the new Goebbels.

    September 4, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  16. pimpson

    What's even funnier is that Ryan didn't lie and it's the desperate and failing Dems who lie all the time.

    September 4, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  17. Kayless

    As long as we are making comparisons to past presidents, I think Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan might be best compared to Richard Nixon. He also had problems with telling the truth.

    September 4, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  18. TJeff1776

    LOL....WOW.....Obama has PROVED to be more military minded than ALL the conservatives put together. WHO in their right mind would doubt that. Well yes, conservatives would, BUT they are NOT in their right minds. Hollowed out by Goebble-like propaganda. "Truth" said one New Testiment character, "what is that ????"

    September 4, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  19. borisjimbo

    If the jackboot fits . . .

    September 4, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  20. Geoff

    If Paul Ryan didn't lie then there would be no comparisons of him to liars, no matter how evil they were.

    September 4, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  21. rtwilli

    Is Ryan really not thinking about what is coming out of his mouth? There are less than 6 million incorporated businesses in the US that would qualify for bankruptcy protection. 25% of those filed for bankruptcy?!! The lies that come out of the mouth start in the heart. I believe this is not a slip-up on facts. He doesn't care about truth. It's not about what great idea he has to offer us, just make the other guy look bad. Paul Ryan, we are not stupid and we will check everything you say. 0% credibility. BTW, I was a financial advisor in 2008, watching client equity gush out of portfolios because of the deruglation of banking. Ask US workers if their 401k is better off now than in 2008.

    September 4, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  22. cgsailor

    Seriously? The party headed by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz wants to take somebody else to task for "lying"? The woman wouldn't know the truth if it came up and introduced itselft to her...

    September 4, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  23. Army Wife

    Guess the Dems are really desperate when they have to demonize someone with the old Nazi smear. I thought the
    President wanted both parties to clean up the ugly campaign rhetoric. Seems the message fell on deaf ears.

    September 4, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  24. elbon

    I find it laughable that posters here are picking on the Republicans. The Democrats are the worst name callers on earth. They have no credible argument so they spew hatred and venom.

    September 4, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  25. Tony L.

    I hate anyone who tries to project what republicans are doing on to the democrats. Anyone paying attention realize what republicans are doing (lying), but this (psychological) projection they and their conservatives followers are doing is specifically to confuse those who are not paying attention. It's amazing to me how many people truly hates this country and wants to see it downfall just so they can have their vision of America.

    September 4, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
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