During a speech before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute on Sept. 15, President Obama bungled the introduction of the Declaration of Independence, leaving out the phrase “by their creator.”
But the gaffe was only picked up by a few conservative blogs – a sharp contrast to the massive mainstream coverage given to any misstatements made by former President George W. Bush during his time in office.
President Obama's misquote came when he told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal [pause], endowed with certain unalienable rights: life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
But the actual quote – which is one of the most well-known in America – of course states that: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Conservative bloggers wondered whether the misstatement by President Obama was a mere slip of the tongue or evidence of his true feelings about the origin of unalienable rights.
“Only two plausible explanations spring to mind,” Jeffrey Anderson wrote on the Weekly Standard blog. “One is that President Obama isn't very familiar with the most famous passage in the document that founded this nation; that even when plainly reading from a teleprompter, he wasn't able to quote it correctly. The other is that President Obama doesn't subscribe to the Declaration's rather central claim that our rights come from our 'Creator.'”
But there was silence from the mainstream media, which had so quickly jumped on any verbal errors that President Bush made during his terms in office.
President Bush's “fool me once” and “misunderestimated” blunders are universally known. The Chicago Tribune, The Star-Ledger, The San Francisco Chronicle and the Sunday Telegraph all devoted full columns mockingly bidding “goodbye” to the former President's speech flubs as he was leaving office in 2008.
And in an incident quite similar to President Obama's recent misstatement, President Bush also misquoted Thomas Jefferson while visiting
Liberals immediately pounced on President Bush, saying that he purposely left out words that negatively portrayed religion.
“George bush edited a Thomas Jefferson letter in a way that truly distorts its meaning,” wrote “Founding Faith” author Steven Waldman.
“Bush added to the audacity of this appearance [at a Fourth of July event] by having the gall to misquote Thomas Jefferson's last known statement about the Declaration of Independence, editing out what was also Jefferson's last known dig at unions between government and religion,” fumed Chris Rodda in the Huffington Post.
Even The Chicago Sun-Times picked up on the outrage.
“Hundreds of blogs have since noticed that Bush left a few of