Supporters of both presidential candidates used extreme language to criticize the other side over the Labor Day weekend, with California’s Democratic Party chairman likening GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s speech at last week’s Republican convention to Nazi propaganda and actor Chuck Norris comparing President Obama’s reelection to “the triumph of evil.”
At a Monday breakfast for the California delegation in Charlotte, N.C., where the Democratic convention begins on Tuesday, California Democratic Party chairman John Burton compared Ryan and his fellow Republicans to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist.
“They lie, and they don’t care if people think they lie,” Burton said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Joseph Goebbels — it’s the big lie; you keep repeating it.”
Burton added that Ryan told “a boldfaced lie, and he doesn’t care that it was a lie. That was Goebbels, the big lie.”
The Republican National Committee quickly denounced Burton’s remarks as “outrageous and insulting to all Americans.”
“It’s become clear that with no record to run on and no plan for the future, President Obama and his allies will resort to the lowest attacks possible to divert attention away from the fact that Americans are worse off today than they were four years ago,” a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, Matt Connelly, said in a statement.
Asked about Burton’s comments on Monday, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told reporters “that doesn’t have any place in the political discourse here in Charlotte” but he did not answer a question about whether the president would ask Burton to step down from his position.
Speaking for Mitt Romney’s campaign, Norm Coleman, a former senator from Minnesota and a cochairman of the Romney Jewish Coalition, said Burton’s remarks illustrate Obama’s unfulfilled promise 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,” Coleman said.
“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.”
Norris made his comments in a Web video posted on Saturday that began to circulate more rapidly on Monday. In the video, Norris and his wife, Gena, urged evangelical Christians to vote in greater numbers than they did in 2008.
Norris said that “our great country and freedom are under attack” and that “we can no longer sit quietly or stand on the sidelines and watch our country go the way of socialism or something much worse.”
“As Edmund Burke said, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men and women do nothing,’ ” Norris added.
Obama backer’s answer gives fodder to president’s foes
Mitt Romney’s campaign sought to capitalize Monday on the admission that Americans are not better off than they were four years ago by a surrogate for President Obama, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who said “no” on Sunday when CBS’s “Face the Nation” host, Bob Schieffer, asked the question.
O’Malley attempted a quick pivot, declaring “that’s not the question of this election” and pinning the recession, job losses, and budget deficits on George W. Bush. But he nevertheless provided fodder to the Romney campaign, which said Monday that Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan would focus on the “better off” question at a rally in North Carolina, where Democrats open their convention Tuesday.
In his nomination acceptance speech last week, Romney channeled Ronald Reagan, who in 1980 asked Americans if their lives had improved under Democrat Jimmy Carter.
Other Obama surrogates struggled to answer the “better off” question on the Sunday political talk shows. Most refused, even when pressed, to give yes-or-no answers, sticking to the Obama campaign’s message that the president inherited serious economic problems, prevented them from turning into catastrophes, and got the economy back on track with steady, if slow, job growth.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said Monday that Americans are “absolutely” better off. “The truth is that the American people know we were literally a plane — the trajectory was toward the ground. [Obama] got the stick and pulled us up out of that decline.”
Ex-employees of Bain companies may address convention
Former employees of companies owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, will speak at the Democratic National Convention this week, an Obama campaign official said.
The official, who requested anonymity, contradicted a Fox News report that at least two Bain Capital executives will address the delegates. Fox News reported the speakers could include managing director Steve Pagliuca, the Celtics co-owner.
Romney is telling voters his work at Bain Capital taught him how to create jobs. The Obama campaign argues his mission was to make money for himself and investors.
The Obama official said the speakers will offer personal testimonies that resemble those featured in campaign ads, in which laid-off workers have talked about losing jobs at Bain-owned companies.