Twisting "God Bless Us"

A campaign blog.
May 1 2008 1:58 PM

Twisting "God Bless Us"

On today’s "state of the race" conference call, a reporter asked about an exchange between Hillary Clinton and Bill O’Reilly on yesterday’s show in which Clinton uttered the words, "Rich people God bless us."

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson denied that’s what she said: "She said 'God blessed us.’ B-L-E-S-S-E-D."

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That may be what she meant. But it’s definitely not what she said. I just watched the video again with headphones and cranked the volume way up. Not a trace of plosive after the sibilant .

Here’s the full context, as described by the Huffington Post :

[O’Reilly said,] "I'm not middle class, I'm a rich guy." Clinton responded (in an awkward moment), "Rich people, God bless us. We deserve all the opportunities to make sure our country and our blessings continue until the next generation."

This is not controversial. People know Clinton is rich. It's common for Christians to believe that wealthy people are blessed by God. And the phrase "God bless us" used in this context doesn't mean she's demanding that God smile upon the rich; it's clearly a lead-in to her point that wealthy people don't need all their money. Don’t get me wrong it will make a great clip for the next MoveOn.org ad. But in context, it's a reasonable statement.

So why lie about it?

Updated Friday, May 2, 2:27 p.m.: AOL News' Tommy Christopher, who asked the question during the conference call, has the full exchange with Wolfson.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.