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Rumor Check: Obama Told Congressional Interns Not to Celebrate the 4th of July?


"Was a revolution truly necessary?"

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave from Air Force One upon departure at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam, on July 2, 2013. Obama left Tanzania Tuesday at the end of a three-nation Africa tour aimed at boosting trade ties but overshadowed by the ill health of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

False Internet rumors spread like wildfire, as they're often sparked by satire stories that someone, along-the-way, accidentally interprets to be legitimate news items. Case-in-point: An article published by The Liberty Paper entitled, "Obama to College Students: Do Not Celebrate Fourth of July." The piece is marked as political satire, but the label, it seems, was missed by some. This has led to questions surrounding the commander-in-chief's patriotism -- and rapid misinformation about his views on the Revolutionary War.

The article includes a faux transcript of the president allegedly speaking to Congressional interns. In the text, while praising America as "a great country," the president goes on to tout big government and to urge his young audience not to celebrate the nation's independence from Great Britain.

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Credit: AFP/Getty Images

"America is a great country. There is no denying this. However, I caution you all as you step forward in your careers. Peer back into history and ask yourselves -- Was a revolution truly necessary?," reads the fake transcript of Obama's manufactured remarks. "Great Britain may not have had it completely right, but they had many things right."

From there, "Obama" praised taxation, relating it back to Godly tenets and claiming that everyone is called to give to those in need.

"Take taxes for example. If your neighbor makes $1 Million a year, but you and your family can barely keep the heat on should he not help your family?," the president's remarks continue. "God instructs us to help our neighbors. He does not instruct us to look down upon them though the windows of capitalism."

He then dubs the American revolution and the annual celebration thereof "a radical break from what is Godly and just." Big government, Obama then claims, isn't as harmful as his conservative critics might allege. In fact, it has the power to provide people with needs and elements that family and friends simply cannot.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a joint press conference with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete after meeting together at State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Monday, July 1, 2013. Basking in an exuberant welcome from streets teeming with well-wishers, President Barack Obama on Monday declared a new era in U.S. relations with Africa based on partnership as opposed to charitable aid. Credit: AP

Following the transcript, The Liberty Paper went on to claim that those listening to the president were uneasy and wanted clarification. One intern, named Julie Barks, is quoted as asking if Obama was calling for an end to July 4 commemorations.

"I believe we should celebrate where we are going. Celebrate moving forward. Not where we have been," he responded, with the mention of "forward" a reminder of his 2012 campaign slogan.

Considering preconceived notions about Obama's views on big government and taxation, some took this article at face value. And let's be honest, the "political satire" label isn't necessarily the easiest to find, opening the door for factual errors.

Snopes picked up the article and debunked it on Tuesday as well, noting that e-mails surrounding its contents are "false" in nature. The fact-checking outlet called the article "just a bit of humorous fiction" -- a label that is entirely accurate.

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