It was a blunder of biblical proportions.
White House spokesman Jay Carney invoked scripture Wednesday to back up President Barack Obama's suggestion that God wants policymakers to get busy and create more jobs.
Carney said Obama was trying to make the point that "we have it within our capacity to do the things to help the American people."
"I believe the phrase from the Bible is, `The Lord helps those who help themselves,'" Carney said.
Well, no, not really.
A White House transcript of Carney's briefing issued later in the day included the disclaimer: "This common phrase does not appear in the Bible."
Obama started the debate earlier in the day when he took note of House action reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the country's motto.
"I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work," the president said.