For someone with a reputation in Washington as a teller of hard truths, no one tells more obvious lies than Paul Ryan. When he went on national television to accept the GOP vice presidential nomination in 2012, his speech was loaded with lies. Most bizarrely but perhaps also the most tellingly, Ryan falsely claimed to have run a very fast marathon time. Paul Ryan will lie about anything, at any time, big or small.
So when he went before the extreme conservative CPAC conference yesterday and told a second-hand tale of a child who said his free school lunch made him feel less loved than kids with a brown-bag lunch, it was no surprise that fact-checkers immediately proved it to be a brazen lie:
Here at The Fact Checker, we often deal with situations in which people misspeak. We certainly don’t try to place gotcha. But this is a different order of magnitude. Anderson, in congressional testimony, represented that she spoke to this child—and then ripped the tale out of its original context. That’s certainly worthy of Four Pinocchios.
But what about Ryan? Should he get a pass because he heard this from a witness before Congress? It really depends on the circumstances. In this case, he referenced the story in a major speech. The burden always falls on the speaker and we believe politicians need to check the facts in any prepared remarks.
In this case, apparently, the story was too good to check. But a simple inquiry would have determined that the person telling the story actually is an advocate for the federal programs that Ryan now claims leaves people with “a full stomach and an empty soul.” So he also earns Four Pinocchios.
It’s awful but not at all surprising that Ryan would repeat a lie to back up his deeply-held belief that lower-income Americans are lazy and morally bankrupt. Ryan’s anti-government-assistance, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps fervor is especially fraudulent considering Ryan himself gladly accepted Social Security survivor benefits and has his family’s construction firm to thank for much of his wealth.
Ryan’s disdain for the working class needs to be put to Republicans like Richard Tisei who claim to be moderate: Would you vote for the Ryan Budget and its attempts to gut the social safety net and food and health assistance for low-income families? Would you let students go hungry to teach them a lesson?