Speaking at the Voters Values Summit, Newt Gingrich lit into Charlie Gibson and ABC News for their “stunningly distorted interview” of Gov. Sarah Palin last night. Gingrich focused his criticism on Gibson’s butchering of a Palin quote about U.S. policy in Iraq. Here is how Gibson butchered Palin’s quote last night:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

Here is what Palin actually said:

Pray for our military. He’s [Palin’s son Track] going to be deployed in September to Iraq. Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do also what is right for this country – that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.

When Palin explained that she was paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, Gibson was flummoxed. Gingrich told the audience, “It is another sign of just how bad things are in elite media and how utterly alien they have become to the rest of America.”
Gingrich then went on to quote from John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural address:

[T]he same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

Gingrich then asked rhetorically: “Imagine if today’s media had been covering Kennedy back then. They would have called him a fanatic.”

Gingrich closed: “The reason this matters so much is because it is time to teach American history accurately. Let’s have every child in America learn in elementary school that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. Then we can let them debate what they thought the founders meant when they put ‘our creator’ in the Declaration of Independence. They meant God.”