RNC Hits Obama For Criticizing Slavery

May 21, 2009 10:37 am ET

On May 21, 2009, the RNC tweeted an out of context quote from Barack Obama regarding a flaw in the constitution. The "fundamental flaw" Barack Obama was referring to was slavery.

RNC: as he prepares to deliver remarks in hall that holds the constitution, flashback obama: "constitution flawed" http://bit.ly/tFL7O #RNC [Twitter, 5/21/09]

FACT: Obama Explains The Constitution's "Fundamental Flaw" Was Slavery. The out of context video the RNC links to contains audio from a September 6, 2001 program called "Slavery and the Constitution" on WBEZ Chicago. On the show, Obama explained that the "fundamental flaw" was "Africans at the time were not considered as part of the polity that was of concern to the framers." In addition, the framers did not "see...it as a moral problem involving persons of moral worth." [WBEZ Radio, accessed 5/21/09]

Others Who Have Made Similar Statements To Barack Obama:

George W. Bush: "Their [abolitionists] moral vision caused Americans to examine our hearts, to correct our Constitution, and to teach our children the dignity and equality of every person of every race. By a plan known only to Providence, the stolen sons and daughters of Africa helped to awaken the conscience of America. The very people traded into slavery helped to set America free. My nation's journey toward justice has not been easy and it is not over. The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation. And many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times." [Remarks by President Bush on Goree Island, 7/8/03, emphasis added]

Condoleezza Rice: "In our first Constitution my ancestors were three-fifths of a man. What does that say about American democracy at its outset? I've said it's a great birth defect. And we've had to overcome a birth defect, and like any birth defect, it continues to have an impact on us. It's why we have such a hard time talking about race and dealing with race." [Council on Foreign Relations, 7/18/08, emphasis added]

Colin Powell: "It took us a while to recognize that we could not live our Constitution truly unless we eliminated slavery, and hundreds of thousands of young men fought a civil war to end slavery and then it took us a long time to get rid of the vestiges of slavery and we're still working on it to this very day." [CNN, 7/11/03, emphasis added]