(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — The chairman of the California delegation to the Democrats’ convention was criticized by both parties for comparing Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to the Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday, John Burton said, “They lie and they don’t care if people think they lie. Joseph Goebbels. It’s the big lie, you keep repeating it.” Goebbels was the minister of propaganda during Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Burton was referring specifically to Ryan, whose speech at the Republican convention in Tampa last week has been criticized by Democrats for inaccuracies.
“How can a senior citizen believe him when he says I’m going to save your Medicare or that my budget balances,” said Burton, reacting to Ryan’s remarks.
Burton expanded on his comments with ABC affiliate KGO, saying, “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.”
President Obama’s campaign rejected Burton’s comments just hours before their convention kicked off.
“That obviously doesn’t reflect the views of the campaign,” said Obama for America National Press Secretary Ben LaBolt. “That doesn’t have any place in the political discourse here in Charlotte.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition also condemned Burton’s remarks. “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,” the coalition said.
Burton’s comments come one day after two California delegates were involved in a drunken incident at their Charlotte hotel. The police were called to the Blake Hotel and one of the delegates ended up in the hospital. The other delegate was sent home.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jeremy Diamond and Noah Gray, CNN Newswire
Daniella Diaz, CNN