Quote: Reaction to the telephone (Rutherford B. Hayes 1983) (Ulysses S. Grant 1939)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Mar 16 19:21:42 UTC 2012

On Mar 16, 2012, at 2:58 PM, Garson O'Toole wrote:

> Last year I attempted to trace a quotation about the telephone that is
> often attributed to Rutherford B. Hayes. Now this quotation is in the
> news because it was used by President Obama in a speech. Because this
> topic is currently a focus of interest I am sharing my results with
> list members. Note that the domain of quotations is filled with
> misattributions and altered phrases. Many fine writers and public
> speakers make inadvertent errors.
> The Washington Post "Fact Checker" has gathered information about the
> quote credited to Rutherford B. Hayes about the telephone.
> Washington Post
> The Fact Checker: Obama’s whopper about Rutherford B. Hayes and the telephone
> Posted by Glenn Kessler on March 16, 2012
> http://goo.gl/5mf0o
> [Begin excerpt of speech]
> 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?’ That's why he's not on Mt. Rushmore because he’s looking
> backwards.  …
> --President Obama, remarks on energy, Largo, Maryland, March 15, 2012
> [End excerpt]

I always thought it was the beard.  Yes, Lincoln is featured with a beard on his bust, but it's much more trimmed than Rutherford ("Gabby") Hayes's was.


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