Email says Obama completed an 'unholy and anti-American trifecta' by being the first president to miss the annual Army-Navy game, the first not to attend any Christmas religious observance, and the first to stay on vacation after a terrorist attack.
Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: Jan. 2010
Status: Mostly false
Email text contributed by Betsy A., Jan. 4, 2010:
* Some are saying that President Obama just completed the UNHOLY and ANTI-AMERICAN TRIFECTA: ***
* 1st president in 110 years to miss the annual Army-Navy Football Game. ***
* 1st president to not attend any Christmas religious observance. ***
* 1st president to stay on vacation after a terrorist attack. ***
Analysis: What "some are saying" may fit some people's preconceived ideas about Barack Obama, but it's factually incorrect.
Item #1: It's true that President Obama skipped the annual Army-Navy football game on December 12, 2009, but one needn't look far back in history to prove he wasn't the first president to do so. G.W. Bush skipped all but three Army-Navy games during his two terms in office, attending only in 2001, 2004, and 2008.
Item #2: Press reports confirm that the Obama family didn't attend a Christmas church service in 2009. While it would take far more research than this bit of Internet flotsam deserves to determine who was the first president to miss such an observance in the past 220 years, a quick search of Google's news archive sufficed to prove it wasn't Barack Obama. Woodrow Wilson didn't attend a Christmas church service in 1914, for example, nor did Herbert Hoover in 1929, nor Lyndon Johnson in 1968.
Item #3: A Nigerian with alleged Al Qaeda ties attempted to set off an explosive during an airline flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, though the device malfunctioned and the plane landed safely. President Obama was vacationing with his family in Hawaii at the time. If it's fair to call an aborted bombing attempt a "terrorist attack," then it's probably also fair to say Obama was the first president to remain on vacation after such an attack occurred. Presidential responsibilities being what they are, however, vacationing is hardly equivalent to doing nothing. Obama participated in ongoing briefings on the attempted attack, ordered enhanced screening and security procedures for commercial airline flights both international and domestic, launched a review of airport security practices including the terrorist watch list system, and issued a public statement on all of the above. Some will argue that Obama should have immediately returned to Washington, no matter what. Fair enough. Others will argue he fulfilled his duties admirably despite not being at the White House.
As for all this adding up to an "unholy and anti-American trifecta," I'm no gambling man, but it doesn't sound like a winning bet to me.
Sources and further reading:
Obama Returns from Church-less Christmas Vacation
ChristianPost.com, 4 January 2010
Obama's Christmas: Terror Briefing, Base Visit
Associated Press, 25 December 2009
The President Addresses the Public on the Attempted Terrorist Attack
WhiteHouse.gov, 28 December 2009
'America's Game' Lacks a Measure of Relevance with Army-Navy
Washington Times, 13 December 2009
President Bush Will Attend Army-Navy Game for First Time since 2004
Associated Press, 18 November 2008
President and Family Spend Quiet Christmas in Capital
New York Times, 25 December 1968
No Christmas Service in President's Church
Reading Eagle, 24 December 1929
Quiet Day at Capital
New York Times, 26 December 1914
Last updated 01/05/09