Certainly many parallels have been drawn between the two astute politicians from Illinois who became president of the United States. I was reading a book about one of them, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, just now when I came across a passage of relevance here.
After his nomination as the Republican candidate for president, the renowned orator Lincoln refused speaking engagements and refused to authorize political statements, pointing only to his previous speeches and the Republican platform. He even refused to deny false statements made against him.
Author Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote:
When his friend Leonard Swett asked his approval of a letter expressing the candidate’s sentiments, Lincoln replied, “Your letter, written to go to N.Y. is … substantially right.” However, he advised, “Burn this, not that there is anything wrong with it but because it is best not to be known that I write at all.” He recognized that anything he said would be scanned scrupulously for partisan purposes. …
Informing a Jewish friend that he had never entered a Know Nothing lodge, as accused by Democrats, he cautioned that “our adversaries think they can gain a point if they could force me to openly deny this charge, by which some degree of offense would be given to the Americans. For this reason, it must not publicly appear that I am paying attention to the charge.”
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Likewise, the birthers would gain a point if Obama responded to their demands.