A top Democrat is taking heat after he likened GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to a Nazi.
The Chairman of the California Democratic Party, John Burton, compared the Wisconsin Congressman to Joseph Goebbels, one of Adolph Hitler’s closest associates, as Burton alleged Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention was riddled with falsehoods.
Burton has only slightly backtracked from his incendiary remarks, as the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Charlotte, North Carolina on Monday.
Burton’s highly charged comparison came as he spoke to the California press about the conservative convention that was held last week, prior the Democrat’s own political pow wow.
‘They lie and they don’t care if people think they lie. As long as you lie, Joseph Goebbels, the big lie, you keep repeating it, you know,’ Burton said about the Republican platform and the party’s incessant criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration during the GOP gathering in Tampa.
Joseph Goebbels headed the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda under the Nazi regime in Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was responsible for the crack down on the country’s intelligentsia – overseeing the burning of books and controlling the country’s media.
‘That was Goebbels, a big lie, they said they don’t care about facts,’ Burton continued. ‘They’re going to lie so, I mean, that’s not pejorative to them. They probably wear it as a compliment.’
Then Burton attacked Ryan specifically for alleged ‘factual shortcuts’ in his convention speech when Ryan claimed Obamacare will mean cuts to Medicare, in addition to Ryan blaming Obama responsibility for the closing of a GM plant in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.
‘What Paul Ryan said was a bold-faced lie to all the American people and he doesn’t care that it was a lie because it doesn’t matter because it sounds good,’ Burton said, speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle and KCBS-TV in Charlotte.
Democrats took issue with Ryan’s comments, saying Medicare will not be gutted as Ryan claimed and saying that the auto plant Ryan referred to actually shut down before Obama took office in January 2009.
Republicans expressed outrage at the comparison to Hitler’s regime, responsible for the state-sponsored genocide of approximately six million Jews during World War II.
Additionally, Obama’s spokesman is distancing the campaign from the highly charged rhetoric.
‘President Obama promised to lift up American politics. Unfortunately, some of his supporters, by employing rhetoric that has no place in our political system, are bringing it down to the gutter,’ Norm Coleman, national co-chairman of the Romney Jewish Coalition, said in a statement.
Similarly, the Republican National Committee released a statement condemning the attack, calling Burton’s choice of words ‘outrageous and insulting.’
Ben LaBolt, the spokesman for the Obama 2012 campaign, said Burton’s view ‘doesn’t have any place in the political discourse here in Charlotte.’
Despite the outrage, Burton offered an apology, considered tepid at best.
‘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,’ Burton said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Burton has a reputation for being a loose cannon.
He recently took pot shots at Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who expressed his struggle with keeping his weigh down, when Christie bashed California for being a bastion of liberal politics at the convention.
‘Christie’s time would be better spent taking up first lady Michelle Obama’s White House Fitness Challenge than bashing our great state,’ Burton said in a statement.
‘If Republicans think California’s such a terrible place to live they should ask their nominee Mitt Romney if he has any plans to sell his $12 million La Jolla beachfront property. Once his car elevator is installed, Romney should be able to get a good price on the property,’ Burton added.