Fact Check Ryan gets Four Pinocchio's for a recent whopper

"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." - Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 6, 2014.

At a Congressional hearing, Anderson had testified claiming that she had spoken to the boy and realized that welfare programs were draining any sense of responsibility. 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."

Wonkette, a satiric blog, wondered if Anderson's story was actually derived from the 2011 book The Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff, which is about a busy executive and her relationship with an 11-year-old homeless panhandler named Maurice Mazyck.

"Miss Laura," he said, "I don't want your money. I want my lunch in a brown paper bag. OK, sure. But why do you want it in a bag? Because when I see kids come to school with their lunch in a paper bag, that means someone cares about them. Miss Laura, can I please have my lunch in a paper bag?"

Secretary Anderson was referring to a TV interview which she had seen with Maurice Mazyck. Kevin Seifert, a spokesman for Ryan, said: "It's unfortunate to learn that while testifying before the House Budget Committee, Secretary Anderson misspoke, but we appreciate her taking the time to share her insights."

After our inquiry, Ryan posted a notice on Facebook saying, "I regret failing to verify the original source of the story."

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."

He earns Four Pinocchio's - a whopper.

Obama on minimum wage

"When I talk about (raising the) minimum wage," President Obama said, "not only is it good policy, but the majority of the country, including half of Republicans, agree with it."

A review of data suggests more than half of Republicans favor a minimum-wage increase, but in most of these polls, less than half of Republicans supported raising the wage to $10.10, the amount Obama is seeking.

Republicans expressed 42 percent support, 54 percent opposition, so it would be misleading for Obama to now imply that majority Republican support for an unspecified minimum-wage hike means that Republicans support the president's proposal to raise the wage to $10.10.

Chip Tuthill

Mancos