The Associated Press highlighted a railroad to nowhere while covering Vice President Joe Biden’s defense of increased government spending and stimulus.
The AP said that Biden credited federal investment with building the “intercontinental railroad,” implying a railroad spanning the Atlantic Ocean, rather than merely reaching the Pacific.
The AP may have borrowed the talking point from other members of the Obama administration, which has a troubled history of identifying the Transcontinental Railroad initiated in 1863 and completed under President Ulysses S. Grant in 1869.
“Listen, Abraham Lincoln helped to build the interstate err — intercontinental railroad in the middle of the civil war b/c he understood this was going to be important,” President Obama said in February 2011.
Obama senior adviser David Axelrod made the same claim in July 2011.
It is unclear whether Biden identified the train line correctly, but he is no stranger to historical flubs. In a 2008 interview with Katie Couric, he praised President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s handling of the stock market crash, managing to pack multiple errors into one sentence.
“When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed,” he said.
The market crashed under Herbert Hoover and television had not yet been invented.