Speaking Wednesday in Washington in front of the Key Bridge, which spans the Potomac River between the District of Columbia and Virginia, President Obama criticized the Republican House for not focusing on job creation. "You have legislation reaffirming that In God We Trust is our motto. That's not putting people back to work. I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work," he said. (Maybe Evan Thomas was on to something...)
A reporter later asked White House press secretary Jay Carney about the president's reference to God:
Q Okay, and on the president’s speech today, he referenced the House action yesterday on the “In God We Trust” motto and said, “I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.” I mean, isn’t it a bit much to bring God into the jobs debate?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I believe the phrase from the Bible* is, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” And I think the point the President is making is that we should -- we have it within our capacity to do the things to help the American people. And that’s why he’s working so hard to get Congress to take action on the American Jobs Act and the provisions therein. And he -- because he believes it’s in the interest of the American people that that action be taken and certainly believes that Americans who are unemployed, who are looking for work, deserve the attention of Washington, the attention of Congress as well as of the President in their policymaking decisions. It’s a number-one priority for him, getting the economy growing faster and getting the economy creating more jobs.
A note at the top of the White House transcript of the press conference explains Carney's mistake: "This common phrase does not appear in the Bible."