Tags: lowry | lincoln | honest | abe

Rich Lowry: Lincoln Didn't Like His Nickname

Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 06:33 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Abraham Lincoln may be eternally known in popular culture as "Honest Abe," but the nation's 16th president wasn't a fan of the shortened version of his first name, nor was he a "warm and cuddly" figure.

That's according to Rich Lowry, editor of National Review and author of the new book "Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream — and How We Can Do It Again," published by Broadside Books.

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"One thing that surprises people, he didn’t like the nickname 'Abe,'' Lowry told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"We have this conception of him as this common man, this tribune of common sense."
But his inner circle viewed Lincoln in other ways not generally known.

"The people who knew him best, his secretaries in the White House, who spent so much time with him in the most trying circumstances imaginable, just said there was this line beyond which you couldn’t go with Lincoln," Lowry said.

"Ultimately he was this private person … He's not the kind of guy you'd go and slap his back, right?"

Lowry, whose book traces Lincoln’s ambitious climb from provincial upstart to political powerhouse, noted that while he was known for telling a lots of jokes, he used them as a means to an end.

"The purpose of the joke was kind of – and Reagan used humor this way, too – as a tool and a way sometimes to push people away or tell them no without actually saying no," he said.

"So he's not a warm and cuddly figure the way you may get from the guy wearing the stovepipe hat on the President's Day sale at the local car lot."

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