Rep. Paul Ryan clarifies CPAC story

Congressman Paul Ryan's speech at CPAC this week is making news, but probably not the kind of news he and his staff had in mind. 

Questions arose regarding the veracity of a story Rep. Ryan told at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, citing Eloise Anderson, a member of Governor Scott Walker's cabinet. 

"This reminds me of a story that I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy 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 because he said that he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him."

"This is what the left doesn't understand. We don't want people to leave the work force we want them to share their skills and talent with the rest of us. People don't just want a life of comfort--they want a life of dignity. They want a life of self-determination. A life of equal outcomes is not nearly as enriching as a life of equal opportunity."

Ryan is accused in some quarters of lifting the story from a bestselling book titled "An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny."

To provide context, Anderson testified before a House Budget Committee--Ryan serves as House Budget Committee Chairman--and said:

"My thought has always been around the SNAP program even when it was called "food stamps" is, why do you have this program, school program, school breakfast, school lunch, school dinner, when do we start asking parents to be responsible for their children?"

"You know, a little boy told me once that what was important to him is that he didn't want school lunch, he wanted a brown back because the brown bag that he brought with his lunch in it meant that his mom cared about him. Just think what we have done. 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, and I think we need to be very careful about how we provide programs to families that don't undermine families' responsibilities."

Anderson's spokesperson now says that she was referring to a television interview she had previously seen. 

Ryan took to social media and posted on his Facebook page that when Anderson related the story at a Budget Committee hearing last year, she misspoke. 


What do you think about this story? Could this create a problem for Rep. Paul Ryan down the road? Should his staff be held responsible for not verifying the source or do you think the blame falls solely on Anderson? 

Share your thoughts here on 'The Daily Bret' or via Twitter @BretBaier--