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. FedUp

    Goebbels? Really? Well, Biden likened Romney to a slave owner. Looks to me like the Democratic leaders are more interested in mud-slinging than in running on their record. Oh wait, the record isn't good. Keep at it fellas. You are looking more desperate than ever.

    September 4, 2012 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  2. SSampson

    While I think comparing Ryan to Goebells is a bit much... we often forget the methods of propaganda used to put the NAZIs in power – It has become politically incorrect even to discuss the 'how' of WWII simply because of the horrific crimes commited....

    Personally I think tht it is VERY important to undestand the why – particularily since today the same methods of misdirection and misinformation are being used... Some people think that making the comparison means that the goals of today's propoganda users are identical to the NAZIs – whih, of course, makes no sense.

    Propoganda is a tool – the reasons and goals have no requirement to be identical.... There is only ONE truth to propoganda, and that is it is used to spread lies – to sow seeds of discontent in a target audience....

    It is a tool that has been used over and over again all over the world – It is (and has been) used in this country for many many years – McCarthyism is just one of many examples – Using propganda to spread fear and hate,,,,,

    A truely free country MUST be devoid of such methods....

    September 4, 2012 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  3. FedUpwithLA

    What a nice comparison! And it came from California, home of "surf Nazis," as I was once told.

    September 4, 2012 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  4. Gimmeabreak!

    Well, let's say if Ryan is Goebbels, Obama is Hitler - so there! Will the Obama slime campaign never end? Will people really vote for these disgusting frauds? Once is not enough? Geeze!

    September 4, 2012 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  5. JR

    To say that people are better off today than 4 years ago is THE biggest lie anyone can say so maybe the Demonazis should have Barry just run on his record if he's so prroud of it and if it's so great.

    September 4, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  6. Jim

    "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." "

    Read what was said. Obama made a statement. Ryan concluded that the statement he made didn't pan out. Where is the lie?

    September 4, 2012 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  7. rs1201

    Democrats have a lot of nerve talking about nazis. The Israeli press is confirming that Obama's administration has informed Iran using two different European countries that if Israel were to attack Iran, the US would not come to Israel's help. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey has confirmed that the US would not support Israel in any conflict with Iran. Talk about throwing Israel under the bus and at the same time letting millions of JEWS die...AGAIN.
    The fact that the international agency overseeing nuclear weapons in all countries has confirmed that Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges in their nuclear labs is of huge concern to the Israelis. Doubling the number of centrifuges just means that the Iranians are working full speed ahead to develop nuclear bombs and they'll get there very quickly. Obama like the Vichy govt in France and hitler is an appeaser and is willing to throw Israel under the bus...primarily because he is an antisemite and he wouldn't want to upset his arab friends in the ME. He has got to be defeated in November...the very survival of Israel depends on that.

    September 4, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  8. Cinchy

    I promise you that DEMs are every bit as guilty of fabrications and lies as the Republicans are. If you don't believe this, you are a sheep.

    September 4, 2012 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  9. addison

    Can people not be honest? Even the democratic pundits said that Obama said everything close to a promise to the workers at that plant.. so Ryan might have stretched the truth.. but there is SOME truth. Now can you guys say there is ANY truth what Biden said about putting Blacks back in Chains? Or that Romney was responsible for a womans death from Cancer when she had her own insurance? I don't like lies, but I hate even more people who see only one side and not the other. Like a football fan who sees the replay of their own team doing a face mask penalty but still deny it.

    September 4, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  10. mjbrin

    "real solutions and choices"?
    name 5......that is what i keep waiting for

    September 4, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  11. DixonIV

    @Russ in Md. you do realize that most of us were completly against the war in Iraq, right? Unlike the right wingnuts, we support our president in times of war weather we think he is wrong or not. If the President is going to send troops, then we must support them. Your trying to spin something so far out there it is even sounds ridiculous. The only support Bush had during the run up to war was Military contractors and his minions on the right.

    September 4, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  12. eleanor

    Ryan seems to have been nominated to be the GOP misinformation specialist of this presidential candidate duo. When one considers the conspiritorial actions of their other main GOP players -Ralph Reed and his evangelical mission, Grover Norquist and his no new tax pledge, Jack Abramoff, the Koch brothers, the Choctaw Indian gambling casino money, the Tea Party members of Congress lock step actions to block passage of bills that could benefit the country, it is all part of their plan.

    September 4, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  13. DixonIV

    @mhklein I agree, it is wrong to compare him to any Nazi. It is to bad that more of the right wing has compared Obama in the same way. You won't hear any politian on the right condem that though.

    September 4, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  14. liberal disease

    California democrats have destroyed a once great state and they want to finish off America in their vision

    September 4, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  15. mjbrin

    to Lizzie, "divide and conquer' is what the Tea Party did to the Republican party and attempting to do to the whole country by lying and saying it is the Democrats doing it.
    as for being better off now. Yep my whole family is working with decent pay and good hours. Our bills are being paid and we are living within our means. We weren't so sure 4 years agoi that this would happen but we are worried that if we don't stay on track now then the Tea Party will take us down again.

    September 4, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  16. syntnw

    I guess the truth hurts when republicans are called on their lies. I'd say Lyan Ryan is much like the Nazi described. How about the American Taliban, does that fit or sound better?

    September 4, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  17. Marie MD

    For being such a good catholic altar boy the plate face browman sure can lie through his teeth.
    You are NOT that handsome. Inner beauty is more than those Border Collie eyes that look better on a dog!

    September 4, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  18. OnceGreatNation

    Ah yes, California...the shining example of state failure and financial ruin for the rest of the country.

    September 4, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  19. jack

    Looking at the Republicans, I know now how Hitler, or most evil dictators, can convince a whole people that their side is in the right. They believe everything that's told to them and never bother checking the facts.
    Believe me – Ryan is a dangerous man.

    September 4, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  20. Jt_flyer

    The Tin Man and the Lion. Brainless and heartless.

    September 4, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  21. Marie MD

    I think that was this lying boy toy meant by 2-1/2 plus (+) for that world record marathon running that he lied about was that he really meant to say 2-1/2 times (x) 2 = 4+ hours! See how easily he spins the truth?
    93% vs 3% kyl lying about Planned Parenthood but he doesn't care about the facts. None of the tepugs do on anything.

    September 4, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  22. skeptic001

    They are all liars. Every one on every side. Our elections are always like playing "Would You Rather"
    Would you rather stick a fork in your eye or cut off your foot? Neither, thanks.

    September 4, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  23. Ben

    Did Goebbels run a sub-3 hour marathon too?

    September 4, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  24. Serge Moss

    I have no problem likening Ryan to Goebbels. Ryan lies. He is proud of his prowess at spin and lies and he is dangerous. His soul is owned by the Koch Brothers, and if you call that democracy, then socialism is looking pretty good. Beside, ask his neighbors in Janesville, Wisc, what they think of Paul Ryan. The opinion is uniformly low.

    September 4, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  25. mariner v

    The Republican platform is the equivalent of loading a gun with blanks and then trying to blow away the opposition. The Republican Plan for our county can be reduced to the basic storyline of Groundhog Day. We have been reliving the same story over and over and over and over. Hopefully everybody has had enough of it. What have they produced as a Party? Name one landmark accomplishment that the Republicans have produced that has moved this country forward. Can't think of one right? There is a reason for that and it because they haven't produced one.

    September 4, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
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