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Email: "Goodbye To Christmas At The White House"

October 15, 2009 4:38 pm ET

The following email has been widely forwarded and has been reposted numerous times on conservative blogs.  Media Matters Action Network has written a response to the text below.  Please feel free to copy and paste it and send to your friends.

Goodbye To Christmas At The White House

[note - all mistakes below are original to the text]

Response

Thanks for letting me know.  But, this strikes me as another attempt to make President Obama and his family seem "not like us." (The fact that the opening line is "this isn't a rumor; this is a fact" didn't exactly rouse my confidence, either).  But, instead of dismissing it as the workings of an old lady with too much time on her hands, I did some research just to be sure.

I was right.

PolitiFact.com's "Truth-O-Meter" gives this rumor a rating of "Pants on Fire," meaning that this "friend at church" is a Liar, Liar.  PolitiFact.com contacted White House Spokesperson Kate Bedingfield who denied any such letter or name change to the White House Christmas Tree:

"'There is no truth to this, and the letter referenced in the e-mail does not exist,' [Kate Bedingfield] said. 'No letter has gone out yet from the White House pertaining to Christmas tree ornaments.' She added, 'The trees in the White House will be called Christmas trees, and the tree on the Ellipse will be called the National Christmas Tree. There will be no name changes.'"

Read it for yourself, here: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/oct/14/chain-email/chain-e-mail-claims-obamas-plan-change-holiday-tra/

FactCheck.org also found this story to be a lie:

"We can quickly dismiss the false claim about a 'Holiday tree.' No less an authority than the National Christmas Tree Association states that this year's tree was chosen in August and is a Fraser fir grown by Eric and Gloria Sundback of Shepherdstown, W.Va. The news was duly reported by the Associated Press, which noted that other trees grown by the Sundbacks also had been displayed at the White House during the terms of presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. The Christmas tree association states that 'the Sundbacks will present the official White House Christmas Tree to First Lady Michelle Obama for the 2009 Christmas season.'

That's confirmed by Semonti Stephens, deputy press secretary to Mrs. Obama. 'The Christmas tree will be called the Christmas tree,' she told us in an e-mail exchange.

This will be the tree displayed inside the White House and is not to be confused with the National Christmas Tree, which is the one the president traditionally lights up each year on the Ellipse, across the street from the White House. That one isn't being renamed a 'Holiday Tree' either, according to the National Park Service, which has jurisdiction. The park service is already putting together the National Christmas Tree Music Program to be kicked off at the lighting ceremony."

Read the rest here: http://factcheck.org/2009/10/holiday-tree-hooey/

As far as the email's claims that President Obama said that "we do not consider ourselves a Christian Nation," we can relax about that, too.  Whoever wrote this email included a YouTube link to what President Obama actually said: 

"We can create a modern international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous. That there are not tensions, inevitable tensions between cultures, which I think is extraordinarily important. That's something very important to me. I've said before that One of the great strengths of the United States is although as I mentioned we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIVd7YT0oWA

Although this email took a quote from his speech and tried to turn it into something scary, this is basically another example of President Obama trying to unite us and remind us of what we have in common with our fellow Americans, and also with people around the world. Maybe that's what that Nobel Peace Prize was for Smile.

So now that Christmas is safe, hopefully we can say "Goodbye" to silly emails like these!



 


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