I think the most important symbol ... or political slogan of the next 20 years is very simple: two plus two equals four. I know it's bold. It's out on the edge. But I want you to think about it. ... (Gingrich then told of how the Polish people used this as a sign to post in their communities, as a way to oppose the dictatorship.) What it said to the Polish people was if the government tells you that two plus two equals five, they're lying to you. If they tell you two plus two equals three, they're lying to you.Gingrich goes on to illustrate that the current fiscal crisis resulted from the federal government's "new math" (my term) that essentially spelled out how people could buy homes even if their available resources didn't add up to the necessary cost of owning a home.
In the George Orwell novel ''1984,'' Orwell has the state torturer say to the innocent citizen he's torturing that if we tell you that two plus two equals five, you better believe us or we'll continue torturing you. And the citizen eventually gets tired of being tortured and says that yes, two plus two equals whatever you say, but in the back of his head he's thinking what if two plus two equals four? ... And it goes back to a play [or, more likely, a Pierre Sauvage's documentary Weapons of the Spirit] (in which it is said) that you can be executed for saying two plus two equals four because the establishment can't afford to have the truth spoken.
Ironically, in contrast to Gingrich illustrating how the federal government fell into the trap of not having the "truth spoken" when it comes to home ownership, he has promulgated the evangelical minded, federal establishment's view regarding the role of the religious codicil, "So help me God," as being part of our presidential inaugural history, which from a fact-based perspective is just another way of saying "two plus two makes five." Gingrich applied his own Orwellian arithmetic to part of his December 2006 and 2007 video broadcast, One Nation Under God: Religion and History in Washington, D.C. - Fox News Specials. Furthermore, as is his practice, when Gingrich gets hold of a good historical whopper he repeats it over and over again. See here and here.
Ultimately, I can dismiss Newt Gingrich as one who frequently prefers the "two plus two makes five" edition of history over the alternative. However, when it comes to members of the Senate Rules Committee, who in bold defiance of historical reality promote a confabulated view of George Washington's first inauguration as if it is totally based on fact, I get concerned. You can see the Rules Committee's recast version of the Gingrich video here, which can also be accessed from the website, Inaugural History - Facts and Firsts. An invitation to view the "So help me God" video - "a historical look at the Inaugural Ceremonies 1789-2005" appears first. A table with the column headings "Inauguration Dates - Presidents - Facts and Firsts" follows, where the first tabulated entry reads:
April 30, 1789 - George Washington - First Inauguration; precedents set include the phrase, "So help me God," and kissing the Bible after taking the oath.
This same table of inaugural Facts and Firsts is presented within A Guide to the Presidential Inauguration - Barack Obama - 44th President of the United States. See Page 9. The cited source is the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which is, of course, managed by the Senate Rules Committee.
If one turns to page 20, we see a longer version of George Washington's first inaugural ceremony as it originally appeared in the article, Barack Obama Presidential Inauguration - Reviewing Inaugural History. There the article reads:
The heart of the affair is the inaugural oath, first recited by George Washington on the balcony of New York City's Federal Hall, the original seat of government, on April 30, 1789.The truth of the matter is that "most later presidents" are not known to "have followed the founding father's precedent," It is true, most modern presidents beginning with the twentieth century have added "so help me God" to their oath of office, but the only known indication that this "precedent" can be traced back to George Washington only appears in print after the Eisenhower administration.
The 35-word oath is prescribed in the Constitution, but Washington added the phrase "So help me God," and placed his left hand on a Bible hastily borrowed from a Masonic Lodge on Wall Street. Most later presidents have followed the founding father's precedent.
So, a person might ask, "What does this all matter? People make mistakes all the time."
What matters is that:
1) judicial opinions appear to have been corroborated even when based on an inadequate reconstruction of our historical past, such as the one offered by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in McCreary v.ACLU:
That [the European secular model] is one model of the relationship between church and state–a model spread across Europe by the armies of Napoleon, and reflected in the Constitution of France, which begins “France is [a] . . . secular . . . Republic.” France Const., Art. 1, in 7 Constitutions of the Countries of the World, p. 1 (G. Flanz ed. 2000). Religion is to be strictly excluded from the public forum. This is not, and never was, the model adopted by America. George Washington added to the form of Presidential oath prescribed by Art. II, §1, cl. 8, of the Constitution, the concluding words “so help me God.” See Blomquist, The Presidential Oath, the American National Interest and a Call for Presiprudence, 73 UMKC L. Rev. 1, 34 (2004);2) scholars, researchers, and students take statements that appear on federally sponsored websites as based on fact, even when that may not be true. Here's a recent example taken from a 2009 Cardoza Law Review article, What Oaths Meant to the Framers' Generation: A Preliminary Sketch, De Novo 280, by Steve Sheppard:
[I]t is a mistake to think that the Founding generation saw the oath as a thoroughly religious commitment. Indeed, Blackstone saw the Oath as a way of bringing religion to bear in enforcing an independent obligation, arising from the acceptance of office, not from the oath itself.
In many instances, the nature of the oath, and the obligations of it, were seen as effectively secular, and whatever religious trappings the oath brought were simply overlooked. Thus, when the oath of allegiance was taken by the executive and legislative officers, no reference to God was expected (in part, no doubt, owing to respect for the Religious Tests Clause). Whatever implied notion of religious significance in the oath is there was seen generally as an option, like the presidential oath, in which “So help me God” was added by the president-elect to the constitutionally required text, a practice that became a common custom. 
 President Washington chose to add the phrase in taking his own oath, and the custom has been continued as a matter of the choice of many, but not, all Presidents. See Inauguration of the President: George Washington. (RS - Update: see 12/14/2010 AC blog.)
3) Ashville Daily Planet, Oct. 17, 2009 - Newt Gingrich spoke to an audience at Montreat College’s Anderson Auditorium:
Gingrich then asked, “Where do our rights come from? Not from the state.” To that end, he cited a passage in George Orwell’s “1984,” when there is an assertion by the state that if it says 2 + 2 = 5, then citizens must accept that as fact, articulating the belief that “power can redefine truth.” (no source found)