Well it comes as no surprise that Paul Ryan's heart rending story about a child's brown bag lunch should be given recognition it deserves as an outrageous falsehood.
This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy, Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a very poor family, and every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”
– Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 6, 2014
A story too good to check: Paul Ryan and the tale of the brown paper bag
BY GLENN KESSLER
Here at The Fact Checker, we often deal with situations in which people misspeak. We certainly don’t try to play 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. We appreciate he is regretful now. 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 leave people with “a full stomach and an empty soul.” So he also earns Four Pinocchios.
Paul Ryan saw what he thought would make a juicy anecdote and went with it. Of course this kind of inaccuracy won't disqualify Ryan in most Republicans' eyes. Intellectual Dishonesty has become the rule rather than the exception for Republicans. I think of them as Limbaugh Republicans, that is Republicans who emphasize emotional imagery over honesty and accuracy.