Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nancy Pelosi Confuses Constitution With Declaration of Independence

    Speaking last Wednesday at the Center for American Progress (CAP), Democratic Leader of the House Nancy Pelosi became a little confused at one point, stumbling over her words and flipping through her notes while referencing one of the founding documents of the United States.  Rep. Pelosi was recalling the early women's rights convention held in Seneca Falls, NY 165 years ago.  The full video is posted on CAP's website, but here is a clip of her remarks:

"And so, it was 165 years ago, 165 years ago.  Imagine the courage it took for those women to go to Seneca Falls and do what they did there, to even leave home without their husband’s permission, or father’s, or whoever  it was.  To go to Seneca Falls, and to paraphrase what our founders said in the Constitution of the United States: they said the truths that are self-evident, that every man and woman, that men and women were created equal and that we must go forward in recognition of that."
    It is of course the Declaration of Independence and not the Constitution that contains the reference to self-evident truths:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    The website of Rep. Pelosi includes a transcript of the speech that was edited to correct Pelosi's error:
To go to Seneca Falls, and to paraphrase what our founders said in the [Declaration of Independence] of the United States: they said the truths that are self-evident...
    Pelosi went on to name three priorities that she and those in her audience at CAP want Congress and the president to address: paycheck fairness, including raising the minimum wage; paid leave to care for sick family members via the Healthy Families Act; and universal child care.

UPDATE: As I discovered a few hours after this article ran at The Weekly Standard, Nancy Pelosi is not the only Minority Leader of the House to experience confusion over the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  None of than Republican House (then Minority, now) Majority Leader John Boehner made the same error back in 2009.

Note: A version of this article (before the update) first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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