President Obama made a boo-boo.
At the end of an extensive profile in the New Yorker magazine, Obama explained that even after Abraham Lincoln left the stage, “it took another hundred and fifty years before African-Americans had anything approaching formal equality, much less real equality.”
“I think our decisions matter,” Obama told New Yorker editor David Remnick. “And I think America was very lucky that Abraham Lincoln was President when he was President. If he hadn’t been, the course of history would be very different. But I also think that, despite being the greatest President, in my mind, in our history, it took another hundred and fifty years before African-Americans had anything approaching formal equality, much less real equality. I think that doesn’t diminish Lincoln’s achievements, but it acknowledges that at the end of the day we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.”
Hmm — 150 years? Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, so it seems that President Obama is suggesting that African-Americans are set to “approach” formal equality in 2015, the seventh year of his presidency. Congratulations, Mr. President! That’s certainly a legacy achievement that will be celebrated in all 57 states you visited during your 2008 presidential campaign.
What the former civil rights attorney probably meant to say is that it took about 100 years — not 150 years — after Lincoln helped end slavery until Jim Crow laws against blacks were finally upended by the courts and through congressional legislation.
Since George W. Bush or Sarah Palin didn’t make the historical gaffe, DEFCON 1 has not been initiated at MSNBC.