Story By Ken Krayeske • 10:30 PM EST
Mayor Eddie Perez rewrote history Monday night in his state of the city address at Hartford City Hall. He eliminated from existence his arrest and criminal prosecution on bribery charges, and he erased any talk of a crisis of confidence in city government.
But the bigger revisionist coup was Perez reworking the chronology of the Nineteenth century. The Mayor told the assembled standing room only crowd in council chambers that Abraham Lincoln was president in 1809.
"Two hundred years ago, President Lincoln said, "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him,'" Perez said in closing his annual address.
In the next sentence, Perez quoted the "We are the ones we've been waiting for" mantra of President Obama, who has done much to cultivate a resurgence of interest in the Lincoln administration.
After the speech, which highlighted financial aid to art projects, mayoral press aide Sarah Barr said that she wasn't sure off the top of her head when Lincoln was president, but she said, he was born 200 years ago. He was, in 1809.
Eight out of eight city council members correctly identified Lincoln's term of office as stretching from 1861 to 1865. Had I interviewed Councilman Ken Kennedy, an attorney, I am certain nine out of nine councilmen would have correctly named the years Lincoln served as President.
It's not like Lincoln Financial hasn't spent a decent amount of time and money reminding the city of Lincoln's existence, what with all the great scuplture work on Riverfront Recapture. And it's not like the Wadsworth Atheneum doesn't have a great Lincoln art exhibit going on right now, either.
But precision with facts and figures have never been a strong point of the Perez administration. And that truism played itself out in his state of the city address.