Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 3, 2012
John Burton compares Republicans to Nazi propagandist

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, whose habit of making outrageous, often vulgar remarks is well known in California - but not, apparently, out of state - likened Republicans this morning to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

"They lie and they don't care if people think they lie," Burton told the San Francisco Chronicle and CBS News before a breakfast for California delegates to the Democratic National Convention. "Joseph Goebbels - it's the big lie, you keep repeating it."

Burton said Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's nominee for vice president, told "a bold-faced lie and he doesn't care that it was a lie. That was Goebbels, the big lie."

The remark was reminiscent of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, when now-Gov. Jerry Brown compared Meg Whitman's media apparatus to Goebbels.

Burton is a special case, though. He said last year that major donors "can take a dump in my salad for $78-grand." This year, he said the party had its limits - it couldn't "get a hit squad" to threaten to burn down lawyer Molly Munger's house if she refused to pull out of a November tax battle with Brown.

Burton's statement today has caused a stir at the convention and has received national attention. The Republican Jewish Coalition, among other groups, condemned his remark.

September 3, 2012
VIDEO: Pelosi calls California 'central' to Democrats' House win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said today the path to victory for Democrats this fall still depends on California, telling Golden State delegates to the Democratic National Convention that races in their home state are "central" to the party's efforts to winning back the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"This is really important to the country," the San Francisco Democrat said at a breakfast at the Blake Hotel. "California's success in electing Democrats here is really critical to our success."

Pelosi told reporters after the appearance that she is counting on California to deliver at least four of the 25 seats Democrats need to take back the majority. Pelosi and national Democrats had been more optimistic in the wake of redistricting and incumbent retirements earlier this year, outlining plans to target as many as nine seats. Some of those opportunities were lost based on the results of the June primary.

Pelosi railed on Republican positions on immigration, women's health, Social Security and Medicare, calling morally and economically wrong the changes to the federal health care program for seniors contained in vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's House budget proposal.

September 3, 2012
Rep. John Lewis urges California to take campaign outside state

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rep. John Lewis urged California delegates today to take their campaign message outside their home state to help send President Barack Obama back to the White House this November.

"You know when to get involved. We need you," the Georgia Democrat said at a breakfast at the Blake Hotel housing the California delegation. "California's going to be all right. But we need you to travel to other parts of America and re-elect Barack Obama."

California, a blue state, isn't expected to be play in the presidential race this November. While Obama's approval ratings have dipped, the Democratic president led Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney 55 percent to 37 percent in a Field Poll of California voters released in July.

September 3, 2012
VIDEO: John Burton says N.C. makes no sense for DNC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Labor leaders have been grumbling for months about the selection of North Carolina to host the Democratic National Convention, and California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said this morning - on Labor Day - it "doesn't make any sense" to hold the convention in the right-to-work state.

"I didn't pick it," Burton told reporters at the state delegation hotel. "It doesn't make any sense to me, but that's me."

Burton was preparing to address delegates at a breakfast at the hotel.

Repeating a refrain made every four years by activists of both the Republican and Democratic parties, Burton said, "For once, truly, this is the most important election in history."

He added, however, that "probably there's a couple others going back to the 1800s."

September 3, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Can labor keep its clout at California Capitol?

VIDEO: Dan says organized labor has a huge hurdle -- Proposition 32 --to clear on Election Day to maintain its influence at the California Capitol next year.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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