Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mixed up her Lincoln history in the land of Lincoln, mistakenly referring to the 16th president as “a senator from Illinois” during a speaking engagement in Chicago on Wednesday.
Clinton made the misstatement while promoting her new book “Hard Choices” with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was President Obama’s chief of staff while she was secretary of state.
“I actually write about Rahm in the book,” she said. “I asked him not to read it before we sat and did our interview. But it was in the very first chapter, the chapter I rightly call ‘Team of Rivals’ because that’s what it was in the beginning.”
“A senator from Illinois ran against a senator from New York,” she continued. “Just as had happened way back with a senator from Illinois named Lincoln and a senator from New York named Seward. And it turned out the same way.”
Hillary was trying to draw a parallel between the 1860 primary defeat of New York Sen. William Seward — think Hillary — by Illinois “Senator” Abraham Lincoln — Barack Obama.
But Lincoln lost the famous 1858 Illinois Senate campaign against arch-rival Stephen Douglas — a fact that clearly escaped Clinton at the moment.
And while he went on to become president, partially through the strength of his debate arguments against Douglas, at no point before 1860 did Lincoln hold a higher office than that of U.S. congressman.