Friday, March 16, 2012

Fake Hayes Quotation

This blog has mentioned fake quotations from Jefferson, Lincoln, Tocqueville, and Martin Luther King.  Now, comes the next frontier:  fake Rutherford B. Hayes!  Yesterday, President Obama said:
There have always been folks like that. There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don't believe in the future, and don't believe in trying to do things differently. One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, "It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?" (Laughter.) That's why he's not on Mt. Rushmore -- (laughter and applause) -- because he’s looking backwards. He’s not looking forwards. (Applause.) He’s explaining why we can't do something, instead of why we can do something.
Carl Cannon explains at RealClearPolitics:
It’s hard to know where to begin unraveling this, but a good place to start is the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, where resident scholar Nan Card confirmed to any journalist who bothered calling her -- which is more than you can say for the White House speechwriting crew -- that Hayes never said anything of the kind about the telephone, or any other invention.
According to contemporaneous accounts, what Hayes really said when he first used the phone was, “That is wonderful.”
In fact, Hayes installed the first telephone in the White House, along with the first typewriter, and invited Thomas Edison in for a visit to show off the phonograph -- and was no one’s idea of a technophobe. “He really was the opposite,” Card told Benjy Sarlin of Talking Points Memo. “Between the telephone, the telegraph, the phonograph, and photography, I think he was pretty much on the cutting edge.”