According to MSNBC's Thomas Roberts, who last week seemed to enjoy correcting Sarah Palin for her historical "flub," President Lyndon Johnson "was never actually elected Commander in Chief." The cable anchor relayed that piece of false information on Monday in a segment downplaying the chances of another Texan, potential 2012 candidate Rick Perry.
In fact, Lyndon Johnson won the 1964 election in a landslide, capturing all but six states. Discussing Texas, Roberts announced, "President Lyndon Johnson was from Texas and he was never actually elected Commander in Chief."
[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On June 7, 2011, commenting on Sarah Palin's assertions about Paul Revere and the Revolutionary War, Roberts chided, "Over the past few weeks, we have watched a number of public figures stumble while trying to recall facts of American history and these little rewrites tend to attract a lot of attention." He later called it a "flub."
Roberts was only too happy to correct Palin: "...In case you were curious, here are the facts. Paul Revere wasn’t warning the British, he was warning the Americans. 'Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' is a famous line from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.
On Monday, recounting the 1960s, Roberts explained, "As we all know, [Johnson] was JFK's vice president, sworn-in as president aboard Air Force One after Kennedy was shot in Dallas."
The anchor added, "Johnson decided not to run for re-election in '68 as the Vietnam War brought his popularity to an all time low." (If LBJ wasn't "elected," how could he even consider running for "reelection?")
At 12:15pm, Roberts issued a correction on his Twitter page, blaming a "mistake in my script."
[Thanks to MRC intern Alex Fitzsimmons for the video.]
A transcript of the News Live segment, which aired at 11:53am EDT on June 13, follows:
THOMAS ROBERTS: Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke at an anti-abortion rally in L.A. this weekend. And he didn't pull any punches on President Obama.
RICK PERRY: Within the first week in office President Obama, he chose to overturn the Mexico City Policy, which basically means that your federal tax dollars can now be used to fund abortion all over the world. With the stroke of a pen, abortion essentially became a U.S. foreign export.
ROBERTS: Well, that tough talk is increasing speculation that he's going to make a bid for the White House. But, Texans have a mixed track record in president politics. George W. Bush went two-for-two. While he barely eked out a victory over Al Gore in 2000, relying on the Supreme Court to decide the Florida recount, his victory in 2004 was decisive and he returned with the majority of the popular vote. President Lyndon Johnson was from Texas and he was never actually elected Commander in Chief. As we all know, he was JFK's Vice President, sworn-in as President aboard Air Force One after Kennedy was shot in Dallas. Johnson decided not to run for re-election in '68 as the Vietnam War brought his popularity to an all time low. And then there is Ross Perot, the Dallas businessman who ran for the White House as a third party candidate in 1992 and 1996. Perot was leading the polls in the summer of '92. But, he finished a distance third in election results that year and again in 1996. All right, so what's going to happen with Rick Perry? We're going to find out if he's even going to get in the race. That's going to do it for me today.