Obama read the speech as part of a project spearheaded by noted Civil War documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, who asked several politicians and actors to read Lincoln's famous battlefield remembrance, CBS News reported Wednesday. During the speech, a draft of which was preserved by White House staffer John Nicolay because it was not considered a significant address at the time it was delivered, Lincoln looked out over the famous battlefield and added the words "under God."
The sentiment was not included in the draft Nicolay preserved though the words were included in a newspaper report of the day.
"Lincoln added 'Under God' as he was looking out over battlefield. why would Obama remove?" former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Twitter.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was only reading the text provided, noting the official version of the speech does not include the God reference.