Obama comparing himself to Lincoln? Perish the thought

February 13, 2009

Springfield, Ill. – President Barack Obama may have ridden a train to Washington for his inauguration, just like Abraham Lincoln.And he may be assembling a “Team of Rivals” for his Cabinet, just like the president who fought the Civil War to keep the United States unified nearly 150 years ago.USA-OBAMA/But Obama is not trying to draw associations between himself and the 16th U.S. president, who by the way also was from Illinois.So said his spokesman as the president marked the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth with speeches at the U.S. Capitol and in Springfield, Illinois.“This president isn’t seeking to compare himself with … what many believe is one of the two or three greatest presidents that this country has ever had,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters on Air Force One en route to Illinois.But then again …“There are parallels, I think, that make it hard for some to ignore,” Gibbs said, enumerating a few: “the Illinois factor, the spending roughly the same amount of time in Springfield and the same amount of time in Congress.”“I think the parallels don’t go a whole lot beyond that,” he added.Obama managed to draw a few more.Speaking at the Lincoln bicentennial he noted it was good to be back in Springfield, “where I launched my candidacy for president two years ago this week –- on the steps of the Old State Capitol where Abraham Lincoln served and prepared for his presidency.”The president had just gotten word that Republican Senator Judd Gregg had withdrawn as commerce secretary nominee, and it was on his mind as he reflected on Lincoln, the simple lawyer who became a mythic American figure.Obama said he thought of Lincoln sitting in his law office, feet up on his desk, sons playing around him, clothes a bit too small for his oversized frame and “maybe wondering if someone might call him up and ask him to be commerce secretary.”This drawing of parallels between Democrat Obama and the first Republican U.S. president was a bit much for the Republican Party and it’s new leader, Michael Steele.Trying to hang onto at least a shred of Lincoln’s legacy for the Republicans, Steele issued his own statement on the bicentennial.“As the leader of the party of Lincoln, I realize that we bear a special responsibility to build on the great work of President Lincoln, and all those Americans who have devoted their lives to the cause of liberty,” he said.For more Reuters political news, click here.Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama at Lincoln bicentennial celebration in Springfield)

14 comments

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hmmm…Democrats have short memories. They opposed Lincoln at every turn…supported slavery, left the union, formed and supported the KKK. Even today, the only member of the house or senate that was a member of the Klan, is Senator Bird from WV. Democrats constantly try to forget the past and to blame others for their failures.Lincoln is the Republican’s legacy to the republic…

Posted by Beetle B | Report as abusive

Why were the Red Coats at the Lincoln anniversary celebration? That time period was Blue and Gray.

Posted by Becky | Report as abusive

If Lincoln were alive today, he’d be a Democrat, not a Republican. It is ridiculous for the present-day Republican Party to insist that they are the “party of Lincoln.” They have come to embody what 19th century Democrats idealized — White power and segregation, and states’ rights. Lincoln stood for empowerment of the disenfranchised — hmm, sounds like the present-day Democratic Party to me.

Posted by SLB | Report as abusive

it’s doubtful that lincoln would recognise the party that steele heads…the party was founded in wisconsinand headed by a man from illinois, two states now almost totally democratic…the racists, klansmen and southerners all became republicans after johnson signed the civil rights act…

Posted by dj spellchecka | Report as abusive

John McCain said, “I knew Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was a friend of mine. Mr. President you are no Abraham Lincoln!”Okay, yes, I took artistic license with that comment! I couldn’t resist.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Around 1840,Abraham Lincoln uses hemp-seed oil to fuel his household lamps.He also writes ( as a general statement on government function and legislation ): “Prohibition… goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by making a crime out of things that are not crimes… A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”End Cannabis Prohibition. Both T.Jefferson and G.Washington grew Hemp in their own fields! President Barack Obama, please legalize cannabis!

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

This comparison is very laughable if not outrageous at best. Obama have not done anything significant yet in his whole life aside from becoming the first African-American president. And now, he is as great as Lincoln. He can’t even pick a decent cabinet member right. Maybe he will claim he is God later on. Or maybe he will become a dictator soon, then he can claim to be whoever he pretends to be just like Idi Amin Dada.

Posted by Teresa | Report as abusive

i believe the job maketh the man,not the other way round,and great presidents all seem to have served in the most difficult of times.these are extremely difficult times ahead for obama so the stage is set,i hope he does well, he was not my choice,but still like many republicans he has my support.one of his foundation strengths is his commitment to his family,but a major negative is the lack of quality of his democratic colleges in the two houses.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I think what the meaning Mr. Pres. Obama expressed is to seek for the great in Lincoln while showing his own will of being responsible and dutiful for the US. I think it’s good and hope he will successfully complete his missions of presidency.

Posted by Wang Xu | Report as abusive

The comparison is an insult to Lincoln.Obama has hit the ground running. Right on his socialistic lieing face.He has no clue as to what is happening. He and his fellow COURT JESTERS have signed a spending/stimulus bill without reading the entire bill. Thanks queen Nancy. He is nothing more than a used car salesman trying to fool all the people all of the time, and doing a good job. He is not and never will be a lincoln. More like a Rev. Wright.

Posted by Marty | Report as abusive

Neither party is exactly what it was in the 1860′s. That does not have to be a bad thing. (although, I must say, in the past 20 -25 years, a constant subtle shift in the Repub party has made it unrecognizable) It is 2009. A certain amount of beliefs and ideas need to roll and change with the times. (like Andrew says – legalize -cannabis – outdated notions like prohibition are causing severe crime, costing taxpayers dearly) Whose comparing Obama to Lincoln? Obama? Hardly. We read to much into this stuff.

Posted by Eloise | Report as abusive

If anyone wants to be elected to a National office, just be a democrat and a lawyer. If Obama wants the people to love him, let him sign some kind of a law that prohibits lawyers from designing or voting on any national law that benefits themselves. About 70% of our state and national elected legislature is lawyers,and we have to obey far many and far too complicated laws. And we must hire a lawyer to interpet them for us at great cost to us. Government has become so complicated that common people cannot participate except to vote.

Lincoln was a despot, so he and Obama would get along just fine.

Posted by Liberty | Report as abusive

America is so obsessed with comparing individuals to someone else…its a lame cycle of entertainment…what Obabma does or does not accomplish will determine his status in politics…comparing is a waste of time….get over it…