President Barack Obama slammed former President Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican, on Thursday when excoriating his critics for dismissing alternative energy sources. He compared them to President hayes, who he wrongly believed dismissed the invention of the telephone.
“One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: ‘It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?‘“President Obama remarked.
“That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore.”“He’s looking backwards, he’s not looking forward. He’s explaining why we can’t do something instead of why we can do something.”
New York Magazine contacted the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio to get the real story about President Hayes:
Nan Card, the Curator of Manuscripts, was plenty willing to correct Obama’s ignorance of White House history. Just as soon as she finished chuckling.
“I’ve heard that before, and no one ever knows where it came from,” Card said of Hayes’s alleged phone remark, “but people just keep repeating it and repeating it, so it’s out there.”
Wait, so Hayes didn’t even say the quote that Obama is mocking him for? “No, no,” Card confirmed.
She then read aloud a newspaper article from June 29, 1877, which describes Hayes’s delight upon first experiencing the magic of the telephone. The Providence Journal story reported that as Hayes listened on the phone, “a gradually increasing smile wreathe[d] his lips and wonder shone in his eyes more and more.” Hayes took the phone from his ear, “looked at it a moment in surprise and remarked, ‘That is wonderful.’”
Oh snap. At least President Obama knows that no one will be demanding he telephone President Hayes to apologize to him for smearing him on the stump.