Are there consequences for failing to tell the truth? That's the question that fact checkers in the media are asking themselves after GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's debut speech last week, and the claims he made about his marathon running past afterward.
But according to the Daily News, one top California Democrat had particularly harsh words for Ryan's widely criticized speech on Monday.
John Burton, the chairman of the California delegation for the Democratic National Convention, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Ryan's credibility stretching at last week's Republican convention reminded him of the propaganda tactics used by Hitler’s Nazi propaganda director Joseph Goebbels.
'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 told the Chronicle.
Burton was incensed at what he considered the many blatant falsehoods in Ryan's convention speech and he didn't back down from his earlier claim in an interview with ABC affiliate KGO in San Francisco: 'If you’re not telling the truth, you’re lying. Joseph Goebbels' concept was the Big Lie. If you tell it enough, people will think it’s the truth.'
The Obama campaign distanced itself from Burton's rhetoric. 'That obviously doesn’t reflect the views of the campaign,' Obama for America National Press Secretary Ben LaBolt told ABCNews.com, referring to Burton's comments. 'That doesn’t have any place in the political discourse here in Charlotte.'
The Republican Jewish Coalition told ABC: 'John Burton ought to know better than to bring the Nazis and their victims into our current political debates, but apparently the offense such remarks cause to Holocaust survivors and their families are of less concern to him than the prospect of partisan gain.'
In response to uproar from the right, Burton issued a nuanced apology on Monday.
'To correct press reports of my recent comments about Republican lies, I did not call Republicans Nazis nor would I ever,' Burton said in a statement quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle. 'In fact, I didn’t even use the word. 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.'