After Attacking Poor Families at CPAC, Paul Ryan Embarrassingly Gets Caught Plagiarizing from Book

Paul RyanPerhaps many of you have heard about the heart-wrenching story Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan told during his speech at the annual CPAC event.  During his speech, Ryan essentially said that if parents don’t personally make their children brown bag lunches, then that proves they don’t care for their children.

He spoke about a story he had heard previously about a boy who supposedly said that he didn’t want a free lunch because a lunch given to him in a brown paper bag meant that someone cared about him.

Honestly, I have no idea what the point of this “story” really was.  That a child doesn’t understand why their parents might struggle to afford their daily lunch?  That you have to have the mentality of a child to buy into Republican ideology?  Who knows.

Well now it really doesn’t matter because the entire story was plagiarized from a book called An Invisible Thread.   

The book is about an 11-year-old homeless child who a woman offered the choice of giving him money for a week of lunches or buying him enough food to cover that same amount of time.  Nothing quite like attacking parents living in poverty by plagiarizing a story.

The excerpt from the book reads:

If you make me lunch,” he said, “will you put it in a brown paper bag?”

I didn’t really understand the question. “Do you want it in a brown paper bag?” I asked. “Or how would you prefer it?”

“Miss Laura,” he said, “I don’t want your money. I want my lunch in a brown paper bag.”

“Okay, 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?”

Where Ryan said that the story he was told was about a boy who, “didn’t want a free lunch.  He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown paper bag, just like the other kids.”  Because apparently any kid who brought a brown paper bag lunch “knew they had someone who cared for him.”

Yeah, don’t tell me this “story” Ryan cites isn’t a direct pull from that book.

But this just goes to show the type of vile hatred Paul Ryan seems to have for the poor.  If it’s not his budget proposals that seem to specifically target programs poor people rely on to survive, it’s him plagiarizing a story such as this to basically tell parents living in poverty who rely on free lunch programs to feed their children at school that they must not care that much for their children.

Though one thing is for certain, Paul Ryan absolutely embarrassed himself at CPAC.  Not only did he attack families living in poverty, but he had to plagiarize a story from a book to do it.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Veritas vos Liberabit

    Paul Ryan, the poster boy for Conservative/Traditional/Christian/Family values. A Roman Catholic married for almost 14 years and with two sons and a daughter. How did he manage such a small family? Three children in 14 years? Abstinence? Natural birth control methods? Does anyone knows?

    • Pipercat

      Mrs. Ryan really can’t stand him….

      • Lee


      • toucanne

        I don’t know about that, I bet those blue eyes got him into plenty of nookie. Too bad they’re wasted on someone like him.

      • Gary Menten

        She isn’t alone.

    • radar

      After hearing all the story he plagarized from The Hustler Forum .His wife cut him off.

      • B-Rad

        Now that right there is a clever response. Well said, and probably exactly the truth. She’s thinking, “Now where have I heard this dirty talk and story before?”, “Oh yeah, the stack of Penthouses he thinks he has hidden in his gun cabinet…”

  • sherry06053

    Yeah, I hear that part of the speech, and what WAS the point? A kid who just had a free lunch said he wished it came from a brown paper bag – if he didn’t have that lunch, he would have said he was hungry…who the hell does Ryan think he is judging people? Even brown paper bags cost money, and they aren’t covered by food stamps.

    • ziggywiggy

      I agree… the lunch was being paid for by someone else, he tried to INFER the kid had a choice between a government handout of a free lunch or mom could make it and put it in a brown bag, totally dismissing the part of the story where a kind person saw a hungry child and offered to help( the food is not free somebody is paying)

      • Julie Irwin Sanders

        And if the child is homeless, how is he expected to have a mother with the ability/resources to pack him a home-made lunch to take to school?!

  • Sunny Ray

    Republican at its best!

  • shane98

    It never ceases to amaze me how some people can repeatedly tell lies and portray themselves as some savior angel sent by God to give us the truth, and people will continue to believe them. This is especially effective if that liar is either pretty or handsome and speaks with a calm, soothing voice and looks at them with a tear in their eye. Paul Ryan always looks and sounds so respectful and sincere. Too bad he’s not. He’s really just a well rehearsed huckster for sale to the highest bidder. He is the epitome of the new Republican hypocrisy.

  • worrierking

    Paul “I didn’t need a ladder, I had bootstraps” Ryan gets caught once again.

    I blame Reagan. He always had a fucking story to denigrate someone in need. It all went downhill since then.

    • toucanne

      This is the typical kind of story Reagan would have told. It tugs at the heartstrings of elderly Faux viewers with some nostalgic concept of their own poor-but-proud childhood. People are fond of remembering stuff in a better light than it actually happened, and of totally dismissing the bad times from their memory.

    • Gary Menten

      Not to mention that Reagan’s stories were at best fairy tales, at worst pure bullshit.

  • Why5ks

    when I was in school no one wanted to be the one who brought the brown bag lunch to school

    • toucanne

      Exactly. Kids have lunch bags. Also, when I was subbing, I saw so many healthy, lovingly-prepared lunches end up in the trash that I don’t blame parents for letting the kids buy lunch if that’s what they want.

    • dragontech64

      Where I went to school, everyone ate the lunch prepared in the cafeteria, that cost a quarter, (and was actually very well done, by a woman who cared). Then we moved across the country to a school where you walked home for lunch (which was such a treat in mid-winter at -15°) The ONLY time we ever had brown bag lunch was when we going on a field trip since we couldn’t get to the cafeteria or walk home from there!

  • talktothe hand

    I’ll bet Paul Ryan was beat up a lot as a child for being such a jerk!

    • Gary Menten

      I’d like to kick the shit out of him today but would fear that if I did, there would be nothing left.

      • nwbennu

        And that’s a bad thing how?

      • Gary Menten

        You got me there…

  • Martha55

    When I was a kid I brought my lunch to school in a brown paper bag but wanted to be one of the kids that bought lunch.

  • Lee

    Effing hate these people

  • James Blanken

    The point most people seem to be missing here is that either lunch is a free lunch. This person in the sorry is still offering to buy the good, no matter the delivery system.

    • TruckingNana

      Mmmm…not seeing it that way. The cons have been trying for some time now to convince everyone that giving kids free lunches at school instead of a lunch provided from home are a bad thing.

      • James Blanken

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with Ryan at all, food is food. What I was trying to say was that Ryan was trying to illustrate his point by using a story in which the child is still getting his food paid for whether it’s free at school or this person buys the food for the child’s home. Which I’m all for, no one should go hungry. And I think it’s disgusting that he believes that if a child doesn’t get a brown bag lunch from home that the child isn’t loved. Some times a family has to make tough choices. There were times my parents didn’t have the money to get extra food for school. My grandparents helped them then. I didn’t think my parents didn’t love m because they had to ask for help.

      • Ric Babel

        No, Ryan was illustrating that no one at home packed a lunch for him. It has nothing to do with the kindness of a stranger since that was never brought up by Ryan.

  • Shadow Laviolette

    didn’t Scott Walker use a brown bag to represent how he was going to cut costs in Wisconsin during his original campaign for governor?

    I had a brown bag lunch for many years at school, I always wanted the ht lunches other kids got. my mom was poor and a brown bag just ment that we were poor to the other kids.

  • Edward Krebbs

    The extremists in the repub party emphasize an Ayn Rand-style that they got everything from personal hard work. Why are they the ones caught plagiarizing ? Ryan, RAND Paul, ……

    (And of course, I’m not even asking about how many of them got govt assistance of one style or the other).

  • Gary Menten



  • katherine norton malek

    Any parent or grandparent knows this was a completely contrived story. Elem. school children have NOT used brown lunch bags in decades. They use lunch boxes, all kinds, Marvel super hero characters; from generic to My Little Pony, Sock monkey, SpongeBob, My Little Kitty etc. Those who do buy their school lunches or are on reduced cost or free lunch, ALL have lunch tickets on file in the cafeteria. The caf staff deduct the money spent from money on file as the kids go thru the lunch line. In most places, except for the “heartless land”, lunch is put on trays without the kids buying or getting reduced or free lunches ever knowing who has full price lunch tickets, reduced price or free. Now, there are exceptions. Recently I read about idiot caf staff who took lunch trays away from children when they realized there was no money left on their tickets because their parents had not replenished it, and threw the lunches away. (Those idiots should be fired. BTW – THEY eat free). Bottom line and point being, BROWN LUNCH BAGS are and have been for a long time – EXTINCT, as extinct as dinosaurs. So, if you’re going to lie or plagiarize, at the very least, make it somewhat believable.

  • Danny Metcalfe

    I thought Rand Paul was the plagiarist in tbe party. Sheesh, now these guys cant even come up with an original way to lie.

  • Rhonda @Bitch & Whine

    He’s a douchebag for sure. His income in one month is about the same as the maximum a family of 4 can make and still qualify for free lunch. Talk about out of touch with low income people. All he wants to do is slash the services they are relying on.

  • Peter

    People who attended CPAC could care less!!!!!

  • Pam Barone

    Why not just credit the writer? After all he had to make up an imaginary person who told him the story. Just say “I am reminded of a story written by….” and say what he said. If a free-enterprise Republican should credit anyone for anything, they ought to be willing to credit a writer who managed to get a book published. How callous and cynical to simply steal the writer’s product without the courtesy of crediting her. Oh wait, it’s Paul Ryan.

    • B-Rad

      Because their arrogance will not allow them. Remember, no Republican was ever given anything. They “earned” it all on their own. So taking an excerpt from a book may be looked upon as weakness by the other psychotic Republicans. I am remembered of a quote myself, although I am having difficulty remembering the source, “It is better to beg for forgiveness, then ask permission any day.”

      • Scott H

        It also gives the (untrue) appearance of them listening and being moved by their constituents. “I remember when little Johnny told me about the time…” makes them seem like they care about the little people they walk all over to keep their spots in Congress.

    • Cactus_Wren

      He couldn’t afford to credit the writer, because she — and the young man she was writing about, now in his thirties — are both actively involved in getting hungry children in contact with school-lunch, breakfast, and other programs to get them fed.

  • republic84

    Im only 29 so I sort of remember elementary school. My first few years were private school my last were public. All along I rarely packed a lunch unless it was required for a field trip. Most of my friends and the kids around me the same. Never once did I go to school AMD say “I didn’t get a packed lunch, my parents hate me”. Ryan and the rest of the GOP scum need to crawl back to the puddle they came from. Any excuse to take from anyone other than the uber wealthy… Shame.

  • soon to be former Republican

    I deliver backpacks to kids at a grade school so they can eat over the week end while school is out–many of the really poor are ashamed to ask for help and they have kids that live on one pack of ramen noodles a day for weeks at a time–teachers can see the need and try to make sure the kids eat –all I can say Karma is mean teacher and Mr Ryan has not laid his head down yet

  • I always preferred to have the school lunches. They were hot and I didn’t have to remind myself to go get my bag lunch. I always had my son buy a hot meal, too. Of course there were days when I didn’t like what was served, or I wasn’t hungry enough to eat the whole lunch. So part of it went into the garbage.

    There were times when I received free or reduced lunch’s. But the schools that I went to sold the lunch tickets by the week and there was no difference in the tickets to know whether or not those were reduced or not. They were the same for everybody.

  • Bob Bock

    Was the book a work of fiction? I didn’t notice in the article.

  • JoyB

    My kids didn’t want anything I could pack them for lunch, But now most schools have nutritionists or dieticians that try to plan healthy meals. And still kids only want candy bars, potato chips and pop. Paul Ryan wouldn’t know the truth if he fell on it.

  • Rena

    I’m 60 years old and never took a brown bag lunch to school even that far back..And it simply isnt done today! This ‘man’ (questionable} is a cheat, liar and an idiot to boot! How do these people ever get a nights sleep?

  • Tony Romero

    Surprise, Surprise….NOT….

  • Kenneth Fussnecker

    This story was given as an example, don’t make a big deal out of it!!! When I was a kid I loved to brown bag it, my grandson doesn’t want school lunches he loves to pack his own lunch.If this was the biggest problem we were faced with today,we would have no problems. More Liberal twisting of words, this article clearly states he “spoke about a story he had heard” if a story is repeated and that is plagiarism,then everyone that spoke about Tom Thumb or Snow White is guilty. He didn’t claim the words were his own they were an example of a story HE HAD READ!!!!!!!!!……………….Bible in one hand,gun in the other. GOD BLESS!!!

    • Ric Babel

      Except that Lying Ryan left out the CHRISTIAN example of a kind stranger. Can’t deny want is readily available on video.

  • Norman Clark

    ryan obviously doesn’t know the cost of paper bags these days…

  • marxwj

    Was the book by any chance from the fiction section?

  • marxwj

    When I went to school, the only ones that brought lunch in a brown paper bag did so because they couldn’t afford a lunch box. Sorry if that dates me, but who wants to drag a sandwich and some chips around all day when they can just pick something up at the cafeteria? Sorry, but the charm wore off after the second day of stale crushed sandwich and chip dust for lunch.

  • Linda J Peek

    The fact is, people (some, anyway) do care, and a brown bag lunch, (usually how it is presented to summer programs activities) means someone DOES care, and we do. Paul Rand does not. He offers weird stollen stories, and no lunch.

  • Marly Duran

    And the moral of this story is- republicans (I refuse to capitalize that) want to create more homeless kids like the one in the story he stole. Oh wait a sec, that’s not moral at all.

  • Personallitycrisis2

    Would someone take that silver spoon out of his mouth and shove it straight up his ass. Republicans are what’s wrong with America and it’s comming time to replace them hopefully with Democrats and Independents with common sense.

  • quillandink

    I’d much rather pack my kid’s lunch, it would be cheaper but she wants “hot lunch” and not be one of those kids that have to bring their lunch. Nice story but BS.

  • GoFig

    I had school lunch every day all the way through school. It wasn’t because my family was poor, it was because both of my parents worked and didn’t have time to make lunches every day for us. Dinner was always home cooked and lunch was a balanced, hot meal from the school. So Paul Ryan can stuff his overgeneralized assumptions about school lunch up his skinny, uninformed butt.