Paul Ryan Gets Caught Telling A Huge Whopper Of A Lie About School Lunches At CPAC


Paul Ryan


On Thursday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) made a speech where he referenced a poor young boy who preferred having his lunch made for him rather than getting a free lunch at school since it showed that somebody cared for him at home. The way Ryan framed the story, it was made to appear that free school lunches were harming our children and American society. Essentially, his case is that we might be filling the stomachs of our children, but we are emptying their souls. Below is the relevant excerpt.

“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. 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.”


As Rmuse wrote earlier on Friday, there seemed to be something ‘suspiciously specious’ about this story. Well, he was absolutely correct. Glenn Kessler, who writes the Fact Checker blog at the Washington Post, decided to look into Ryan’s claim and found that it was a complete fabrication. Eloise Anderson never actually spoke to a young boy who told her this story. She lifted this story from a book that was written in 2011 called “The Invisible Thread.” The book detailed the story of an 11-year old homeless boy, Maurice Mazyck, who was befriended by the book’s author, Laura Schroff.

Schroff gave the boy two options for help with food. Either she could give him money at the beginning of the week and he’d have to budget it, or she could take him to the store, buy food for the week for him and then provide him with a lunch every day. The boy asked if he could have food for lunch and if it could be packed in a brown paper bag. He stated that if it was packed for him in a bag, it would show he had someone at home that cared for him.

Anderson apparently got her inspiration when Mazyck, at that time an adult, repeated the story on a talk show when talking about the book. Anderson acted as if she had spoken to a young boy directly, who had told her this story, when she spoke to Ryan and Congress last year. She then added the part about him being ashamed of having a free school lunch. Nowhere in the book did Mazyck bring up free school lunch programs. Also, the interaction between Schroff and Mazyck described in the book happened 25 years ago. Anderson insinuated in her remarks to Congress that this had all happened recently.

The best part of all is that Anderson, and then Ryan, used the story of the relationship between Mazyck and Schroff. Mazyck and Schroff are advocates trying to end childhood hunger in America and want school lunch programs and SNAP benefits to be EXPANDED, not cut back or eliminated. They are in complete opposition of Ryan’s views and went on the record against his budget. So it seems pretty darn funny that Ryan is using their story to further his agenda.

Kessler gave Ryan’s speech Four Pinocchios, essentially calling it a flat-out lie, and a dangerous one to boot. Below is what he wrote in handing out that rating.

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.


Ryan has tried to give himself an excuse for using that huge lie in his speech. Obviously, he’s blamed Anderson, who pushed the fib to begin with. He also said he should have done a better job verifying the story before including it in a speech. The only thing he is truly sorry for is that he got caught. That story was just too good not to use and if nobody fact-checked it, it would have been used over and over again. Without that story proving to be true, especially how it was presented in his speech, the entire substance of what he was trying to convey crumbles apart.

38 Replies to “Paul Ryan Gets Caught Telling A Huge Whopper Of A Lie About School Lunches At CPAC”

  1. Disinformation 101: conservative pundits and politicians take turns making crap up and then proceed to cite each other (“There are stories out there that blah, blah, blah occurred/was said/etc.”) as justification for propagating the fallacious stories.

    This is what happens when your primary sources of “factual” information are the online blogosphere, local supermarket rags, or in some instances, purely hypothetical scenarios presented by members of the news media in the form of “what if?” queries. Anyone can tell anyone anything about anything — it doesn’t make it necessarily true.

    Of course, the real tragedy is that so many tea-chugging politicians have made it standard practice to take unsubstantiated, isolated anecdotal accounts, along with wild rumors spawned from the right wing blogosphere … and use them as the basis for formulating public policy.

  2. I think pathological lying is in the DNA of many extreme conservatives like Paul Ryan (and Ted Cruz, and so many other right wing liars). They lie even when it’s not necessary, just to make a point, or to baselessly attack Obama. They seem to be devoid of any conscience or morality, and they have no shame when they are caught. They just blame the lie on someone else, or deny they said it, even when it’s on videotape. Politicians like Ryan and Cruz have no soul, and no moral compass. They are a scourge on our country and on our good citizens.

  3. I knew he had to be lying cause his lips were moving. That is hilarious. Admitting Scott Walker is your friend well you what they say about birds of a feather…

  4. What does this ill willed lying heartless anti everything asshat think if he tells this story enough he himself might start believing it. I’d love to know what his family would have done if someone cut their safety net.

  5. So Ryan did the hoping all those folks would go home and repeat the lie, what a multiplier that is.

    When did he walk it back?

  6. An Ayn Rand disciple who evidently never heard of “Christian charity” in his crusade to strip “our brothers’ keeper” social programs from our present and future, ranting about OTHERS having “an empty soul”?

    Look into those cold blue eyes, and tell me if you see a soul in there. Nope, not there.

  7. Anderson sounds like she should not be dealing with families, much less children.
    She’s secretary of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, and then she lies again by saying she misspoke? And the story was from 25 ys ago, a heck of a lot has changed since then. She lies on purpose. It was intentional.

    “As she put it, “If this kid tells me a brown bag was more important than a free lunch, we’ve missed the whole notion of parents being there for their children because we’ve taken over that responsibility.”

  8. My wife and I live in a RW wonderland; these people think they are so smart, yet they have no moral compass despite their proclamation of loving Jesus and family values. It’s such a joke. I asked my sister in law why she’s a republican, her answer was that when my wife’s dad died, the govt taxed them too much, so she decided to stand up. Let’s examine that. Her father in law died, she was not in his will, and the farm got taxed. In short, she was trying to impress my mother in law, however, she is not married to my BIL any more, but she still rallies against democrats, while her house in foreclosure because of the repigs she professed her undying love 30 fucking years ago!!!! Talk about not being able to admit that you were wrong, wow

  9. So according to Lying Ryan, a five or six year old child should have an empty belly as well as an empty soul. Hey Ryan, that free lunch you are so willing to withold from these children, that is the only meal some of these kids get. But since you don’t see them why should you care. Thank god you will never be President. Do you talk the the poor andworking poor in your state? Or do you just ignore them and find ways of ripping them off? To give your masters the Koch brother a few more dollars?

  10. Then she lied to congress and should be brought up on charges. Oh wait I should put the pipe down

  11. So does Paul Ryan make his kids school lunch everyday? Because ya know it shows he cares.

    I occasionally go to school to eat lunch with my grandson, most of the kids there eat school lunch. People are too busy working, my daughter thinks it’s worth the 2.25, i don’t because he eats like a bird and would rather socialize. Some of these first graders eat a lot, they get to put as much as they want on their plates so that’s good for kids who don’t have much at home.

  12. Pretty sure he ignores them. He wouldn’t want the poor to get too close.

    Remember the freaking fake homeless shelter visit he and Romney tried to pull off? Lololol

  13. This is another example that the GOP is completely dishonest everything about this party now is a lie they have done nothing for this country for almost 6 years so with no record they can only lie. It is really quite sad.

  14. Whats funny when the book was written 25 years ago Lyin Ryan was in High school and if he was getting Social Security benefits he was on a free or reduced school lunch program. The ball is in his court to prove me wrong

  15. They are so used to lying, that it’s a way of life. The GOPers, those who are reputable, don’t speak out against these naysayers. That’s why I call the Ayn Rand followers ,,,,REPULSHRICANS!!!.

  16. Full stomach and empty soul? Who the fukk does this Repugnantthugtard think he is? I would give my everything for him and anyone who gives him the time of day to learn first-hand what a soul-crushing experience poverty really is. Nobody gives two shits about their “soul” (a thing that is imagined) when their stomach (a thing that is real) is constantly empty to the point of inducing pain. This mythical “left” he wants to demonise seems to mean anyone who will not bend over for his pro-corporate agenda.

    We live on a world that will not be able to adequately feed a third of its present population when this century ends. Well, Paul Ryan and anyone who swallows his crap give very good clues as to who we should get rid of in order to avert the impending disaster. Human garbage, the lot of them.

  17. What Ryan doesn’t seem to get is that people who get free or reduced lunch don’t have anything to put in a brown bag at home. His lie has nothing to do with the poor and the needy who have no money to buy lunch no matter where it comes from.

  18. CPAC should be called CBAC concervitive bashing all common sence.they have no agenda but block stuff then go back on vacation

  19. Lyin’ Ryan is the one with the full belly and the empty soul. His vacant eyes show that although the lights are on, nobody’s home. He is so bereft of empathy, common sense, or compassion that it never seems to occur to him that there are kids so poor that they would suffer starvation if it weren’t for free school breakfasts and lunches. When my 5 siblings and I were growing up in Pittsburgh, both of our parents worked and we had cheap school lunches from kindergarten through 12th grade. A school lunch versus a home-made lunch tells nothing in and of itself how much a parent cares. People do the best they can under their circumstances. He should never become president, and he never should have been elected to Congress, because he is living in a delusional bubble that deprives him of relating to or even understanding the issues of the poor and middle class.

  20. And what will be the consequences of getting caught, hm? Is his power diminished? Are his political prospects any less?

  21. As much as I can’t stand this nut job, he technically didn’t lie. He was repeating a story that Anderson lied about. I really hate to defend him but I can’t stand when reporters twist the words of anyone.

  22. I read an article recently in which a Conservative claim was debunked.

    A Conservative responded ‘well, in this instance the facts were wrong, but it’s still a useful archetype’.

    I responded “Is that what you call it, when you come up with a hoax that has a strong emotional impact? Change a few details, tell the story again; all that matters is convincing people with emotional arguments, right?”

  23. The habitually lying republican liar Paul Ryan has told so many lies, everything out of his mouth is not to be taken as anything but another God Damned republican lie. Paul Ryan is just a habitual lying republican liar lying republican lies.

  24. First Rand Paul and now Paul Ryan, both lifting from others writings to make themselves look good. What a crock!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.