Attention poor people: did you know that allowing your kids to eat free or reduced price lunches at school means you simply don't love your kids enough to work more hours to be able to afford meals? (And why don't you love your children enough to make lunches for them, you horrible scum?)
Speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference, the former Republican vice presidential nominee argued that conservatives should let Democrats be the “party of personality,” while “we will be the party of ideas.”
“I’m optimistic about our chances because the left, the left just isn’t out of ideas, they’re out of touch,” he explained. “Take Obamacare — not literally, but figuratively here, okay? We now know that this law will discourage millions of people from working. The left thinks this is a good thing.”
Ryan insisted that liberals were only offering people “a full stomach and an empty soul.”
He then told a story of a “young boy from a very poor family” who received free lunches at school “from a government program.”
“He didn’t want a free lunch,” Ryan insisted. “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.”
Of course, what the right doesn't understand is that being poor doesn't mean you love your children any less, but that notion that whoever has the most stuff means you have the most love is pretty much the entire raison d'etre of modern conservative parenting: If you were truly loving and deserving parents with good values and moral standards, you wouldn't be poor in the first place.
Oh, but here's the best part of the story: It's 100% nonsense. Even much-maligned WaPo "Fact Checker" Glenn Kessler dropped the dreaded "Four Pinocchios" rating on Ryan's story in less than 24 hours.
It turns out that Ryan stole the story from Wisconsin's GOP Department of Children and Families head Eloise Anderson. Oh but it gets worse:
But the story doesn’t end there. Wonkette, a satiric blog, wondered if Anderson’s story was actually derived from a 2011 book titled “The Invisible Thread,” by Laura Schroff, which is a book about a busy executive and her relationship with an 11-year-old homeless panhandler named Maurice Mazyck. His mother was a drug addict, in jail, who had stolen things and cashed in food stamps to pay for drugs. At one point, Schroff offers to bring Mazyck lunch every day so he won’t go hungry.
This actually seemed a little strange. Could the tale told in congressional testimony really be drawn from a book? It did not make much sense in part because Schroff and Mazyck are partnering with a group called No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger in the United States. One key part of the program is connecting hungry kids with federal programs such as school lunches and food stamps. The group also opposed Ryan’s 2013 budget for its proposed reductions in the food stamp program.
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 leaves people with “a full stomach and an empty soul.” So he also earns Four Pinocchios.
And this guy will almost certainly be running for President. The guy is such a scumbag that, in order to attack free school lunches for poor kids, he stole a story from another Republican who stole the story first from an author who was pointing out how badly poor kids need things like school lunches.
And the best part:
This story recounted an incident from more than 25 years ago.
When Paul Ryan was still in high school.
Presumably eating a school lunch.
Think about that for a moment.