A reader writes:
Garry Wills did not compare Obama's race speech to the Gettysburg address. He compared it instead to Lincoln's address at the Cooper Union in New York (1860). Here is what Wills had to say (quite unambiguously):
"Obama's speech has been widely praised?compared with JFK's speech to Protestant ministers, or FDR's First Inaugural, even to the Gettysburg Address. Those are exaggerations. But the comparison with the Cooper Union address is both more realistic and more enlightening. It helps us understand each text better, one in terms of the other, since both speakers faced similar obstacles to their becoming president. Both used a campaign occasion to rise to a higher vision of America's future. Both argued intelligently for closer union in the cause of progress."
My bad. I read Wills' piece at the time - and recommend it - and it got garbled in my memory.