David Axelrod: Lincoln Built an "Intercontinental Railroad"

When I caught the President talking about President Lincoln’s “intercontinental railroad” in an interview he gave in February, I thought it was just an off-the-cuff gaffe. But it turns out his former chief political adviser made the same mistake just this weekend at the Aspen Ideas Festival:

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It’s not surprising that both men would occasionally misspeak. It is surprising that both would use the same example, i.e. Lincoln’s “intercontinental railroad” as an example of big government stimulus spending, and make the same verbal gaffe while doing so.

You have to wonder if both the President and Axelrod got the same talking points memo from someone at the Center for American Progress or another friendly progressive think tank. And assuming they did get the handy political illustration from a common source, you have to wonder why neither of them caught the error (replacing transcontinental with intercontinental).

What’s certain is that this is just the kind of gaffe that the left would have had a field day with if Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin, or really anyone on the right, had made it. We have several recent examples of just this kind of gaffe becoming big news.

Politifact fact-checked Palin’s account of Paul Revere’s ride. So are they going to set the record straight on the transcontinental railroad? George Stephanopoulos went after Michele Bachmann’s account of the founding fathers and slavery. Is he going to question someone at the White House about this gaffe now that it has popped up twice? Will Chris Matthews suggest on air that the President is really a “balloon head?

None of that will happen of course. In fact, the railroad gaffe won’t be covered at all. Most Americans will never know Obama said it and the President’s reputation as a historically literate person will remain intact for 2012.

This is where we are today. The press’ liberal bias is so bad that we honestly can’t even say how bad it is. It’s only when one stumbles across the story the press is choosing to ignore–whether it’s this minor gaffe or John Edward’s mistress–that we realize how truly divergent the treatment of conservatives and progressives really is.

So if you still believe the media is unbiased toward liberals, well … I have an intercontinental railroad I’d like to sell you.

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