I don’t know how I failed to run across this before, as it’s almost two weeks old now and has been reported by several sites, including Commentary and USA Today. It appears that the White House is editing the biography pages for previous presidents on the whitehouse.gov website, to include references to President Obama (h/t: Hankering for History). Here’s an example from the White House biography of Calvin Coolidge:
On Feb. 22, 1924 Calvin Coolidge became the first president to make a public radio address to the American people. President Coolidge later helped create the Federal Radio Commission, which has now evolved to become the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). President Obama became the first president to hold virtual gatherings and town halls using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.
The Obama references are inserted at the end of each bio, in special blocks entitled “Did you know?” Check out the bios since Coolidge. Interestingly, there is an Obama blurb with the Nixon bio, but not with the Ford entry. Here are the two Obama-related comments at the Reagan page:
- President Reagan designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday; today the Obama Administration honors this tradition, with the First and Second Families participating in service projects on this day.
- In a June 28, 1985 speech Reagan called for a fairer tax code, one where a multi-millionaire did not have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffett Rule.
The White House confers honor on President George H.W. Bush as follows:
President Barack Obama awarded George H.W. Bush the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his commitment to service and ability to inspire volunteerism throughout the country, encouraging citizens to be “a thousand points of light.” The administration continues to promote service and civic engagement, honoring heroes of local communities as “Champions of Change” and fostering civic participation.
The Republican National Committee, perhaps a tad unfairly, has created a series of photoshops depicting Obama in events from history. The one making the rounds is Obama landing on the moon, but I prefer the one with Elvis meeting Nixon, for its Gump-ish quality.
Of course, Obama’s staff is not inserting him into history. Let’s just make that clear. But in claiming that the Buffett Rule is like something Reagan would have promoted, it is certainly attempting to rewrite history. I’m sure we can count on President Romney to end this strange practice, to let the presidential bios stand on their own, and to stick to hailing the sitting president’s policies over on the policy pages.
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