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John Burton apologizes for comparing Republicans to Nazi Goebbels

September 03, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, seen in a file photo, apologized Monday for evoking Nazi Joseph Goebbels in describing Republicans.
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, seen in a file photo,… (Robert Durell / Los Angeles…)

John Burton, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, has apologized for comparing Republicans to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, a comment that quickly sparked outcry from the GOP.

“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,” John Burton said in a statement.

Burton, who let loose against Republicans in an interview with KCBS and the San Francisco Chronicle, expressed his contempt for the party’s recent rhetoric Monday morning.

“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,” he said.

Burton made a point of noting that he never used the word “Nazi”; however, he did invoke the Nazi minister of propaganda twice.

“That was Goebbels, a big lie, they said they don’t care about facts,” he said. “They’re going to lie so, I mean, that’s not pejorative to them. They probably wear it as a compliment.”

Burton also brought Republican vice presidential nominee Paul D. Ryan into his condemnations.

“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,” he said.

The Romney campaign reacted sharply to Burton’s remarks.

“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. The comments by California Democratic Chair John Burton likening the Republican Party to Nazis and Joseph Goebbels are just such an instance. All people of good will should repudiate such disgraceful words,” Norm Coleman, national co-chairman of the Romney Jewish Coalition, said in a statement.

The Republican National Committee likewise called Burton’s opinion “outrageous and insulting to all Americans,” while the California Republican Party labeled it as “exactly the kind of desperate, deranged rhetoric the Democrats are going to employ to distract voters from their failed record over the past four years.”

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt also rebuked Burton, saying that his stance “doesn’t have any place in the political discourse here in Charlotte,” though the campaign has yet to say if it will call for Burton’s resignation.

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morgan.little@latimes.com

Twitter: @mlittledc

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