WASHINGTON (JTA) — John Burton, the chairman of the Democratic Party in California, apologized to those who took offense at his remarks comparing Republican statements to Nazi propaganda.
Following an uproar over the remarks, which were condemned by Democrats and Republicans, Burton issued a statement on Monday.
"To correct press reports of my recent comments about Republican lies, I did not call Republicans Nazis nor would I ever. In fact, I didn’t even use the word," the statement said. "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."
Speaking earlier in the day to a California radio station, Burton had said of Republicans in general and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan more specifically, “They lie, and they don’t care if people think they lie.” He also said, “As long as you lie, Joseph Goebbels, the big lie, you keep repeating it, you know.”
Goebbels was minister of propaganda for the Nazi Party and was a close associate of Adolf Hitler.
Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, criticized Burton for his comments.
“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 political gain.”
Also condemning Burton was Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, who said, "That obviously doesn’t represent the views of the campaign," adding, "There’s no place for that in the political discourse."
Late last year, U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) also had likened Democrats to Goebbels, noting, "If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party because they have an incredible propaganda machine."
A host of Democrats condemned West’s remarks at the time.