Can you name the national motto? If you pick “In God We Trust,” then you’re doing better than our President. Barack Obama attempted to explain how our national motto supports diversity, but only could make that argument by getting the motto wrong:
Last month, while speaking at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Mr. Obama was trying to stress the similarity of the U.S. and Indonesia and said “it is a story written into our national mottos.”
“In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum — out of many, one,” he said, then compared it to the Indonesian motto, “Bhennika Tunggal Ika — unity in diversity.”
The official motto of the U.S., designated by a 1956 law, is “In God We Trust.” E pluribus unum is the motto on the Great Seal of the United States, and appears on the ribbon held in the beak of the eagle that dominates the obverse side of the seal.
He misquoted the Declaration of Independence twice, and now Obama gets the national motto wrong. Do high schools in Hawaii actually teach civics? And can anyone in the White House do basic fact-checking research on Obama’s speeches before he delivers them?
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!