A Republican gubernatorial candidate in Arizona was forced to backtrack this week after he was caught misattributing several quotes about class warfare on Twitter to Abraham Lincoln.
State Sen. Al Melvin (R), who recently announced his campaign for governor, told Capitol Media Services he got the quotes “from a Republican club newsletter.”
“It sounded good,” Melvin said after being confronted by Capitol Media Services. “It seemed like it was something that he would say.”
The quotes used by Melvin referred to “class hatred.”
“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich,” one said. “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.”
Another quotation Melvin misattributed to Lincoln said, “You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.” In that tweet, Melvin added his own commentary: “POTUS Obama needs to learn from these words.”
Capitol Media Services spoke with Brooks Simpson, a professor at Arizona State University and member of the Abraham Lincoln Association’s board of directors, who confirmed the quotes came from William J.H. Boetcker, a minister who toured the country and was not born until years after Lincoln’s death.
Melvin admitted he made an “innocent mistake” and said he was trying to be clear he had not come up with the quotes.
“If Obama had said it, I would have credited him,” Melvin said. “I know he wouldn’t have said it, but that was the point.”