41st Conservative Political Action Conference  ...Next >
March 6, 2013--Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) devoted most of his speech to presenting an optimistic view of the state of the Republican Party during a time of "vibrant debate" and "creative tension." (prepared remarks)  Ryan highlighted ideas advanced by a host of Republican leaders and said that "a conservative, modern reform agenda is now taking shape."  "We're offering a vision, and we have got plenty of ideas," he said.  "The Left isn’t just out of ideas; they're out of touch," Ryan said.  However, Ryan got into hot water for remarks he made toward the close of his speech.  He repeated an anecdote he had heard at a hearing: 

“The left is making a big mistake here. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. You know 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.”

Fact-checkers found fault with the story, which traced to a book, and Ryan was forced to issue a clarification:

"Today at CPAC, I shared a story I heard from Eloise Anderson, the secretary for children and families for the state of Wisconsin. She mentioned it in her testimony for a House Budget Committee hearing last year. I have just learned that Secretary Anderson misspoke, and that the story she told was improperly sourced. I regret failing to verify the original source of the story, but I appreciate her taking the time to share her insights."
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