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. Manny

    It only shows how desperate the Obama's campaign is. This is how he and his minions understand for "Change"

    September 4, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  2. babooph

    Goebbles admitted he was a propagandist,Ryan thinks living off a trust fund he never earned ,makes him an Ayn Rand self made man-DELUSIONAL!

    September 4, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  3. Ryan is cryin' cuz we know he's lyin'

    Ryan is just another disingenuous Republican who doesn't want people to know who and what he really is. It's the old "wolf in sheep's clothing" story, all over again. But, then, the RNC was one long misrepresentation of a party that's pulled so far right to the lunatic fringe that they're in danger of falling off the political "spectrum." Ryan hasn't been a fiscal conservative, either - not by a long shot. But, btw, why do these Ayn Randian yahoos always make exceptions for the military? If you're going to cut spending across the board, cut the military and end these expensive, useless wars! THEN they could actually start to save on veterans benefits because we wouldn't have a bunch of gimps for the V.A. to take care of for the rest of their ruined lives.

    September 4, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  4. geggyg

    In advertising , communication and PR courses the " Goebbels Big Lie " principle of communicting ideas is considered a legiitimate field of study and a legitimate means of business and political communication. Boths sides of politics use , Rove used it to get Bush elected as Texas Governor, peddling stories that his female opponent was a lesbian and her election team was mostly lesbian . Rove also labelled anti – Pres Bush people unamerican , anti soldier, proterrorist supporters , thast how they got so many Bush proposals passed by Congress. Rove is stiill doing this work with his SuperPac in this election

    September 4, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  5. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    I hate to agree with any Republican but right-the big lie repeated over and over-Ryan is the PERFECT candidate with Romney both PEOVEN liars-Ryan even LIED about his marathon time in collage-he must not be as smart as others say if he doesn't realize facts -even college marathon ones can be checked-I saw 50 Janesville men and they even had a picture with a Dec 2008 date on it showing the plant cl;osing but what really hurt them is that Ryab votoes funds for their retraining- I doubt he is elected to his congressional seat.

    September 4, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  6. Hiruu

    Nice...well, this election is really hot! For once, the Dems are not cowering in blistering attacks from the right, which is a change.

    September 4, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  7. lobo joe

    One big difference, Mr. Ryan can run a marathon in less than three hours, I don't think " Little Joe" could've done it in that time.

    September 4, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  8. Sue

    It absolutely amazes me how many times I have read a fact-check of something Paul Ryan (or various other GOP members) have said,where it is deemed to be "inaccurate", "incomplete", "partially true", or just out and out "pants-on-fire"! Yet, for days on end, they repeat their statements over and over again, despite the fact that it has proven to be proven inaccurate Their ethics are nothing short of deplorable. However, they know that if their lies are repeated enough times over and over again, that a certain amount of people who are ignorant to the facts, will believe them.

    September 4, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Godwin was right. I'm honestly surprised it took this long, though.

    September 4, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  10. DrJStrangepork

    Here we are again. Can't they pick a different thing to compare against? One group crying about lying from the other group is so old. They both lie. Everybody lies. Lying is what makes society work. There is always a balance of lies and truth. Take a new tactic... when one lies, just call it out and leave it there. The rest of this is unnecessary and just tired now.

    September 4, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  11. Dave

    If the shoe fits, wear it.

    September 4, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
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