In 2008, Barack Obama rolled out his presidential campaign in Springfield, Ill., where Lincoln announced his own presidential candidacy. Throughout that year’s campaign, Obama’s staff embraced similarities between the two men as part of his persona; he allowed them to encourage lofty comparisons – and, after he won the election, he recreated Lincoln’s 1861 train trip to Washington as part of his own inaugural spectacle.
He even took the oath of office on Lincoln’s Bible – twice.
Lincoln brought the country to a revival at an unlikely time with his address. He gave new meaning to the definition of sacrifice in service to the country, for the purpose of the preserving the country.
Lincoln was asked to speak here only as an afterthought. The request for Obama to speak has been sought for more than a year.
It would be an occasion for him to honor a crucial time in our past, to create a historical bridge to today.
His dismissal of the request shows a man so detached from the duty of history, from the men who served in the White House before him, that it is unspeakable in its audacity.