Was Abraham Lincoln the founder of the Republican Party?
While Honest Abe may be the most recognizable and influential Republican politician, President Obama's claim on Thursday night that Lincoln was the founder of the party is, well, not quite accurate:
Lincoln joined the Republican Party in 1856, two years after the party held its first convention in Ripon, Wisconsin. Perhaps more disturbing than the President's inaccurate remark, is how the gaffe has been covered by the media. The American Thinker published a story Saturday arguing that publicly-funded PBS omitted the Lincoln gaffe from their transcript of the President's speech.
The article's author Timothy Birdnow compares a quoted paragraph of the President's speech in the New York Times, side-by-side with the same paragraph quoted by PBS, except that in the PBS version the "Founder of the Republican Party," sentence is not included. Following the comparison, Birdnow asks if PBS has purposely altered a transcript containing a major gaffe by the President.
Towleroad, a left-leaning blog that describes itself as "a site with homosexual tendencies," defends the President's remark as debatable and not technically incorrect, and then goes on to defend PBS:
"The American Thinker story is completely false.
PBS states that it published the transcript of Obama's prepared, written remarks, as opposed to his actual spoken speech. And Obama improvised the bit about Abraham Lincoln founding the Republican Party; it wasn't in the text of his prepared speech. PBS did nothing wrong."
Considering Mr. Obama's affinity for teleprompters, the idea of him improvising anything seems unlikely. However, Washington Examiner reporter Byron York has backed up PBS's transcript. In an email sent to Instapundit, York writes that PBS is lazy, not dishonest:
“On the pbs obama transcript thing…I looked at the text of the speech that the white house sent out before it was delivered…and the transcript of the speech that the white house sent out after it was delivered…and he adlibbed the ‘founder of the republican party’ line…it wasn’t in the original text…it seems pretty clear to me that pbs simply posted the text of the speech on its website and went home…and the new york times posted the transcript of the speech, which is what he actually said…pbs was wrong, but i don’t think they altered the transcript."
Since the shake-up PBS has gone on to update their transcript with the Lincoln sentence, and included this note from the editor:
"EDITOR'S NOTE: The original transcript provided on this page, as was noted, reflected the president's remarks as prepared for delivery and released by the White House. This transcript has been updated to reflect the remarks as delivered and released by the White House."