RSS
Petty controversy: The Oval Office rug mishap
What does a misattributed quote on the new Oval Office rug say about Obama?
The new rug in Obama's Oval Office incorrectly credits a quote.
The new rug in Obama's Oval Office incorrectly credits a quote.
Corbis
T

he petty controversy: There's a mistake on the Oval Office's new presidential rug. The beige carpet, which made its debut prior to President Barack Obama's Iraq address last week, includes the presidential seal and five embroidered quotes attributed to Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Unfortunately, the King quote — "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice" — doesn't belong to him. The saying comes from 19th-century Unitarian minister and abolitionist Theodore Parker, whose words King (and Obama) often repeated.
The reaction: This "error perfectly encapsulates the shallowness of Barack Obama's intellect and his lack of rigor," says Thomas Lifson in American Thinker. "Underfoot, literally, there is woven into his background a prominent vein of phoniness." Everybody, just relax, says Dan Amira in New York magazine. Parker never said those exact words, King did. So Parker probably "doesn't get any credit on the rug" because King "delivered his lines more eloquently, succinctly, and famously, and because rugs do not have footnotes." Watch an ABC News report about the Oval Office's new interior design below:

 

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week