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. ClaudiaL

    That big lie was but one of the many told by Ryan as well as a couple told by Romney. Catholics who educated Ryan should call him up & offer a refresher lesson because surely they didn't teach him to lie. Oh, never mind.

    September 4, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  2. manhandler

    IThere's a reason that his name rymes with Lyin'.

    September 4, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  3. MN Blues

    The problems that we face in today's economy and the bitterness divide between one political party vs another party is simply the fact that we have become a hybrid republic, "a pinch of Socialism with a dash of Capitalism." And perhaps I'm reaching here, but politicians on both sides have made governing a career and not service, and this difference alone may contribute to the division between the parties...regardless...

    The one question that Americans should really be asking themselves is...Do I want to live in a socialist or capitalist society? It's a pretty straight-forwarded question with a straight-forwarded answer. And I'm certain that there are positives and negatives to governing regardless of your choice. Both forms of government probably produce Greed, Taxes, 1%'rs, Corporate crime, Immigration issues, Poverty, Right to life issues and so on. So which is right?

    With the election drawing closer, my hope is that all voting Americans can see thru the smoke and mirrors of both parties rhetoric and come to a decision based on their own moral consciousness..because Clint Eastwood did get one fact correct in his improve skit last week, Washington works for us, the citizens of these United States.

    If your interested in how Capitalism is suppose to work, Mr Sowell and Mr Friedman clearly understand these principles, both can be found on Utube. As to Socialism, if someone knows of an expert/economist on this subject please post their name so that we can all be educated by scholars and not by special interests groups or political parties.

    Finally, I admit that I'm not better off today then I was 4 years ago, as a matter of fact I'm not better off then I was 6 years ago, I guess Dr. Friedman did have one observation correct...That the Fed and Congress create more problems for citizens then they help! So thank you, to Paul, Alan, Ben and Congress.

    September 4, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  4. Fed up

    Why the surprise....these kind of comments are a staple from democrats and the left. Insert some dictator or such name and link him to a republican. Pathetic.

    September 4, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  5. R&R 2012: Rail-Roading the American People

    You don't have to BE a Nazi to lie like a Nazi. You can despise Goebbels and still employ his tactics.

    Romney and Ryan lie almost every time they open their mouths. They lie about the Affordable Care Act. They lie about Medicare. They lie when they claim President Obama has gutted work requirements in welfare. They lie when they deceitfully edit an Obama speech on community to get their "you didn't build that" slogan (can you imagine taking your central slogan from a piece of dishonest video editing?!). They lie about the causes of our debt and deficit. They lie about their plans to cut taxes for the rich and ask the middle class to make up the difference. They lie about the state of the economy now as compared to the state of the economy when Obama took the helm.

    And they don't stop lying when fact checkers call them on it. They double down. They say "we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." Guess what, guys? To those of us who have been paying attention, absolutely nothing could be more obvious than that. Except the fact that you are two of the most ethically challenged people ever to make a serious run for the American presidency.

    September 4, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  6. panorain

    Fabrications of the highest order. What fabrications? That Ryan said that Obama caused the plant to close? Of course loyal Obamians will have no trouble believing that meme. Since they are so well trained. Any others? The Obamians appear to be proposing that from that one fabrication there must be at least three or four. Where?

    September 4, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  7. Ben

    They've been calling Obama worse for more than 4 years now. Let them taste their own medicine.

    September 4, 2012 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  8. geezus

    goebels said, if you tell a lie often enough it becomes true.

    September 4, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  9. Cathy

    Think the comparison to Goebbels is a little extreme but Ryan is a pathological liar, I means seriously the dude even lies about his marathon time?

    September 4, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  10. winchester74

    I want to see the Republicans fuming because someone has finally spoken up and called them what they are ... FASCISTS.

    "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group."

    - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    September 4, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  11. dc

    This is disgusting! Comparing him to a Nazi is WAY OVER THE TOP! Is there no limit to what the Democrats will say? Fact checking proves ample falsehoods on both sides. LET'S PLAY NICE!

    September 4, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  12. TD

    Lets face it. The reason most of the GOP doesn't want Obama to have the second term is because he's black. What I can't stand is the way Ryan would stand there pretending to be innocent when he lied and backtracked on so many issues. Since day one of Obama's office, the GOP establishment would throw up one obstacle to another to hinder Obama to execute his policies, and now they're all screaming Obama failed? Do they seriously think the American people are that stupid? They wouldn't even consider compromising on any of the issues so the country can move forward. I'm not a Democrat, but Bush had eight years, so I will give Obama eight years! Remember, Romney was the one who wanted nothing to do with the American car companies bailout. That's a fact! The GOP promise us a rose garden, but all I see are thorns and no flower. We had a garden full of thorns and no flower during Bush eight years already.

    September 4, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  13. dc

    "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."

    He compared Ryan to Joseph Goebbels, so technically, the word Nazi was not used, but his spin gave his statement that meaning.

    All the spin is becoming sickening!

    September 4, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  14. aaron

    Why back off from the statement? Ryan is a master propagandist just like Goebbels was. The only difference is that, at the moment, Americans have the right to call a liar a liar. If Repubs have their way, that right will vanish for us just like it did the Germans.

    September 4, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  15. Marin89

    As with many of the comments here, John Burton's desperate statement is pathetic. The difference is that, unlike the comment posters, Burton had the good sense to later retract his ill-advised comment!!

    September 4, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  16. Lisa Weiss

    I have to LOL when I read the BS from either of them. Are we really that clueless????

    September 4, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  17. MyPOV

    I would like to see the same standards applied to the Democrats as the Republicans. The California Dem Chair should step aside.

    September 4, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  18. tcaros

    Ryan is a gerbil.

    September 4, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  19. Big Munny

    I recall spending many nights awake, unable to sleep, worrying about name calling and the Salt Lake City Olympics. I don't recall ever caring about silly little distractions like Americans dying in unfunded wars, tax breaks during wartime, whether sick Americans get medical care, Bin Laden, fiscal cliffs, etc.

    September 4, 2012 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  20. wellhellothere

    There are always idiots in both parties. How this clown got to be the chairman of my party is beyond me. :)
    Anyway, let's also be clear about Ryan. Anything he said at the RNC convention should be taken with a grain of salt. Is was a celebration, a party for heaven's sake. They're allowed to say whatever they want, and we're allowed to correct him/them, when necessary.

    September 4, 2012 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  21. sashal

    misleading .
    He compared RW lying machine to Goebbels tactics.
    well, Hannity , Beck and other swine compare Dems to Nazis all the time, Burton only said that Ryan and Co use Goebbels tactics. What's wrong with this correct statement?
    Next time I'advise him to use comparison to Mao lying propaganda or Stalin's Pravda tactics.
    At least anti-human repubs may not squeal that loud when exposed for pieces of bacterial filth that they are.

    September 4, 2012 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  22. BeverlyNC

    I was a German major in college, spent several months in Germany as a student, and naturally became interested in how Hitler fooled the German people into voting for him and then why they stood by and did nothing as the evil of Hitler became more apparent. I know a lot of German history and Goebbels was Hitler's propaganda minister. He laid out the plans to recruit the people to Hitler and was known for a quote "If you tell a lie enough times, people will believe it".

    This is exactly the Romney campaign. They have told so many lies they no longer can remember all the positions they have taken. Romney' campaign told ABC "We will not fact checkers dictate our campaign". So his strategy is to tell as many lies as possible and see which ones people might actually believe. Ryan is the liar in chief for Romney and therefore I can definitely see the connection between Ryan and Goebbels. Rutlhless liar who wants to shove his beliefs and extremism onto the American People to get the power they want – not to serve but to control.

    Once in power, there were removal of riights, persecution of those found unworthy, and war. Sounds exactly like the only things Romney has told us. He has been intentionally deceptive of what his plans for jobs, recovery and the People are – because there are none. His plans only include more the elite, the wealthy, and the corporations and NOTHING but destruction for the People. Kills Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, funding for public education,veteran benefits, womens rights for their own healthcare decisions, making all contraception illegal, and repeal of the fair pay law for women.

    Romney is a fraud and Ryan is the architect of their plan to destroy all People programs. Read the Congressional passed Ryan budget. Read HR3 that he and Todd Akin wrote that play word games with the definition of rape. Look at Ryan's Congressional voting record. You will see the danger to the rights of every American – even our right to vote.

    I stand with President Obama because he has proven his concern and true care of ALL Americans. Every effort has been for We the People from job bills Republicans in Congress obstructed and would not pass to healthcare for all that is already helping millions, protecting us back taking out Osama and bringing down Al Qaeda, standing up for the rights of women with a fair pay act, specific benefits for women in the Healthcare Law, and hard work fighting for soldiers to bring them home from Iraq and Afghanistan. 30K soldiers are coming home for good from Afghanistan in the next couple of months. President Obama has set up a new GI bill for education, job priority for vets, extensive healthcare for vets and making education, science, and infrastructure investments a priority. America is better off with a true leader who works for the People and not a corporate puppet and traitor of the People like Romney.

    September 4, 2012 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  23. Cam Spurgeon

    Lying Ryan and sprinkler head mitt. Watch his head while hes talking and you will see the sprinkler head effect. I heard that on some program and then watched his speech the other night. I wonder if its a learned thing or just a tick as this program said.

    I don't think anyone should be compared to nazis etc but this definitely is a very dishonest pair. I still want to see the taxes and don't understand why anyone would vote for a candidate who wont show them. I certainly wont so that makes me an independent for Obama .

    September 4, 2012 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  24. scott

    More name calling, Democrats are such a sad bunch. Rather then trying to help this country and its people they run them down. Of course what do you expect from a liberal party. Especially from California, one of the worse states in the Union, cities going bankrupt, corrupt liberals judges, a state full of mostly immoral people.

    September 4, 2012 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  25. mark

    notice the states republican party didnt say it wasnt true

    September 4, 2012 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
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