Between the current interest in America’s founders and a “willingness to believe” the Internet, political misquotes are flying these days, writes David A. Fahrenthold in the Washington Post. A look over the past two years of C-SPAN and the Congressional Record shows that politicians—including congressmen, senators, and the president—have wrongly quoted the founding fathers at least 30 times.
Republicans have often misquoted the founders to suggest they’d back current conservative thinking. But “even if the founders didn’t say those things, would they have agreed with them?” It depends, historians say. Thomas Jefferson preferred small government—but George Washington called for a stronger federal government. Misquoting Washington is “a betrayal of who he was,” says a historian. Check out some of the misquotes at left. Or read about Sarah Palin's recent Paul Revere flap. (Read more misquoting stories.)