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Burton Leaves DNC After Apology For Comparing GOPs To Nazi Goebbels

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California Democratic Party chairman John Burton, speaking at a 2003 news conference when he was California state Senate president pro tem. (David Paul Morris, Getty Images)

California Democratic Party chairman John Burton, speaking at a 2003 news conference when he was California state Senate president pro tem. (David Paul Morris, Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS SF) — The chairman of the Democratic Party in California returned home on Tuesday and was not expected back at the Democratic National Convention after igniting a firestorm of controversy by comparing Republican tactics during this year’s presidential campaign to the “big lie” strategy most famously employed by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

John Burton returned to California for a previously scheduled dental procedure, the state party announced, after offering a tepid apology for the remarks made Monday in an interview with KCBS Radio while in Charlotte for the convention.

In the interview with KCBS political reporter Doug Sovern, Burton said the Republicans lie and don’t care whether people know they lie and that, “As long as you lie, Joseph Goebbels, the big lie, you keep repeating it.”

KCBS Exclusive: John Burton DNC Interview:

A close partner of Adolf Hitler, Goebbels held a top leadership position in the Third Reich, where he was largely in charge of designing propaganda and anti-Semitic messaging for the Nazi party.

Republicans immediately criticized Burton after the interview aired on KCBS and called for an apology. Burton has since issued a statement trying to walk back his comments, saying that he “humbly apologized” to anyone offended by his comparison.

“To correct press reports of my recent comments about Republican lies, I did not call Republicans Nazis nor would I ever. In fact, I didn’t even use the word,” he said in the statement. “If Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, or the Republicans are insulted by my describing their campaign tactic as the big lie – I most humbly apologize to them or anyone who might have been offended by that comment.”

(Copyright 2012 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

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