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. Anonymous

    Republicans will lie as they have nothing to offer. Look, the country is definately better off than it was four years ago. We were almost at 10% unemployment and not it's 8.3%. The stock market was at about 6,000 four years ago and now it's at 13,000. A lot of people are out of work, but there's always unemployment and there's a large percentage who don't want to work anyway. If Romney is elected you can bet that unemployment will shoot right back up again as he'll employ the deregulatory measures his puppeteers want which will hurl us into a real big mess.

    September 4, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  2. AgrippaMT

    Ryan is indeed the reincarnation of Josef Goebbels, and Romney will be the new Hitler if we American voters make the dreadful mistake of letting them win in November. America's future as a democracy really is at stake here.

    September 4, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  3. Emmittkitty

    Well, Ryan did tell a bunch of lies...perhaps we should just compare him to the cartoon character Pinocchio. Would that make it more politically correct?

    September 4, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  4. truth

    if the libs are nasty are they going to be when they lose.......their always sooo unhappy....

    September 4, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  5. EP451

    i like the comparison. it makes sense. the guy lied today about his marathon time!!

    September 4, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  6. craigles

    The Republicans will lie as they have no plan. America IS better off than it was four years ago as unemployment was at 10% when Obama took office and now it's at 8.3%. The stock market was at 6,000 and now it's at 13,000. Obama saved us from a real depression. We're better off and the electorate knows it.

    September 4, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  7. tsb610

    Lyin' Ryan!! How can our country trust Paul Ryan to hold any position of responsibility or power.

    September 4, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  8. mk1

    Proudvet. As a vet myself, you are an embarrassment to us all. Your post obviously shows a bias that taints your views, plus it shows a significant ignorance which is a shame. President Obama is a proud American and is proud of this country and if you can not see that you willing have blinders on. You do realize that spending under President Obama is way way down compared to the last president? I doubt you do. As for sticking our noses in every other countries business, what kind of a whacko are you? That is NONE of our business. With a son currently on active duty, the possible election of draft dodging Romney and his five fit yet not serving sons scares me to death. He is a man who will prove his manhood by sending our troops into war, which sounds right up your alley. Hope you are of re-enlistment age.

    September 4, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  9. Thomas

    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!

    I agree with you 100% ! Yet power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely . And when facts become lies , bad things happen to innocent people .

    September 4, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  10. Kenny

    Democrats and Republicans must be using the same play book. However I can't see the lie in Ryan's comments. Obama went to the plant said it would be open a hundred years with Government help and its not. Were is the lie? Seems to me Obama will promise anything even when he doesn't know what he is talking about. I think it would probably be a good idea to check with the factory owner before you start making plans for them.

    September 4, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  11. Ken

    So Burton made references to Goebbels and has the audacity to stand up and say, "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," So, it would be okay for me to compare Obama to Stalin and Lenin, then tell everyone I never said he was a communist or socialist. How stupid does Burton think we are, and how stupid are his followers to believe him?

    September 4, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  12. Ken

    @ Tony...and Obama is stealing change from his daughters' piggy bank to fund his reelection? Oh wait, he already gave us change....we can only hope...

    September 4, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  13. concerned citizen

    mhklein – I totally agree. I don't wish the President's campaign being so negative. One of his beauties is his character and decencies. Sometimes, they may make him look weak, but I would really like him to think about his long-term legacy rather than merely winning this election.

    September 4, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  14. Keep us all on our heels...

    When I hear my own sister say that she went to watch a radical republican film about Obama, and she say's that she hopes someone does harm to the President, I know that the Nazi like tactics of the republicans is working.

    September 4, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  15. cnnhack

    If you actually READ what Ryan said instead of relying on someone else's talking points, you will see he never said Obama closed the plant or caused it to be closed. He said Obama promised it would stay open and it didn't... No lies except on the Dem side but CNN won't say that bit

    September 4, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  16. jollyrodger

    WAIT didn't Hank Williams Jr get fired for making reference mr obama as HITLER where is the uproar now .

    September 4, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  17. John The Electrician

    70 years later, fascisim is still the same thing. If people think it is the way forward, then it will history repeating itself.

    September 4, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  18. Paul Yuhas

    Wow! If A Republican would compare Joe Biden to Comrade Lenin or Mao, the Liberal Media would implode. Only in leftist-land will we see this kind of wacko media propaganda stand. It is outrageous.

    September 4, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  19. ᾨ CHE ᾨ

    Call it like it is!

    The GOPer's are bunch of Racist Nazis with Taliban, Al-Qaeda mentality ALL ROLLED in ONE ...... Period!

    September 4, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  20. Caron Speas

    Lyin' Ryan. I've counted three huge lies so far and he isn't even elected yet!!!!

    September 4, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  21. Ken

    Funny, the Democrats have been the ones sounding more like Nazi's to me. They are the ones who have proposed laws that if ever inacted would force radio stations with right wing hosts to either cancel them or give some left wing person equal air time (even if they lose money ... like Air America which they called progressive radio, which went bankrupt). They are the ones who want to not only ban guns but require everyone to turn them in (so only the forces controlled by Government would have such weapons like in Nazi Germany). They are the ones who speak about the upper tiers of this country in the same way the Nazis spoke about the jews .... (They are holding you down, they are taking advanatge of you, they are benefitting off your work and effort and they should be giving it back to you). They are the ones following similar nationalistic policies toward companies, where they pass laws to give benefits to companies doing what they believe is best for the nation while passing laws to hurt those who do not toe their line (look at all the calls to pass laws to penalize companies that outsource labor, or move to right to work states avoiding unions, or even laws to get rid of secret ballots in union voting so the union enforcers will know who voted No and they can take action to ge them in line). They are the ones who are practicing the best aspects of Orwells 1984 doublespeak (such as when the campaign manager for Obama said she never talked to the person the Romney killed my wife ads were based on, then a tape surfaced where she introduced the person at a conference call .. and she calmly said she was honest she never talked to him, only heard he was on a call and didn't pay attention). To bad the people who support Obama are so stupid. Otherwise they could see through all the lies and twists and attempts to avoid the truth from Obama. But like good slaves (or would a better term be brown shirts), they listen to their master and obey.

    September 4, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  22. mike

    If anyone is identical to Hitler and his agenda it's Obama! He has done nothing except divide the country and it's citizens in order to fulfill his own personal agenda just like Hitler, along with his lapdog Joe Biden. It is surprising that when he cancelled the missile defense for poland that he didn't offer to restart Auschwitz for them and start shipping white, hispanic, asian, catholic, christian, mormon, jehovah witnesses to further his agenda in eradicating the United States of everyone except Black Muslims.

    September 4, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  23. Megan

    Yeah Obama NEVER lies. LOL

    September 4, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  24. Caron Speas

    One commenter demands civility of his fellow democrats. It is foolish to take your hat off and bow to one who is trying to cut off your head. The comparison to Goebbels was very appropriate. Goebbels authored many writings about political propaganda strategies and it is clear to any educated person that Ryan is borrowing a page from Goebbels handbook. Ryan led the charge on economic brinkmanship that directly resulted in the downgrading of the U.S. credit rating. He voted against the bi-partisan Simpson Bowles Plan to reduce the national debt. Then in one speech he says Obama destroyed the plan and caused the downgrade. Causing an unfortunate incident and then accusing your opponent of causing it, is classic Goebbels. That is not calling Ryan a nazi. That’s stating the fact that he is using a propaganda technique lauded by a nazi.

    September 4, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  25. Mopery

    I still remember that amazing day when Mitt Romney became the first man to walk on the moon. "Corporations are people my friend." he said, as his foot first touched the lunar surface. What a proud day for all Americans, the haves and the have nots, the job creators and the part-time workers.

    I remember when Mitt Romney landed on Omaha beach, and bet Patton ten thousand dollars that he could win the race to Berlin.

    Remember his rousing slogan from the 1960's? "Ask not what the job creators can do for you, but realize that their need for car elevators and a 17th house outweighs your need for health care or affordable housing." He's such a humanitarian, a true follower of Christ's teachings.

    September 4, 2012 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
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