For House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the swearing-in of a record number of Democratic women was a historic moment worth a photograph. And, she decided, history needed a little digital help.
After only 57 of the 61 congresswomen showed up in time for the photo scheduled Thursday on the Capitol's steps, Pelosi's aides digitally inserted images of the four absent members into the photograph. She then had the altered image posted on her Flickr photo-sharing site.
Journalists and historians frown on such altered views of history. On Friday, Pelosi defended the photo.
"It was an accurate historical record of who the Democratic women of Congress are," Pelosi said at a news conference. "It also is an accurate record that it was freezing cold and our members had been waiting a long time for everyone to arrive and ... had to get back into the building to greet constituents, family members, to get ready to go to the floor. It wasn't like they had the rest of the day to stand there."
Pelosi said the photo reflected the nation's diversity because it included women from every community and religious faith.
"So we were pretty excited about it," she said. "We got a lot of response back from the country, and one I loved was when they said, `Can the women in Congress hear the people cheering across the country?'"