Category Archives: Rutherford B. Hayes

Trivia Question: The Presidential Candidate Who Did Not Know His Running Mate by Gregory Hilton

The book “Game Change” will be released on Tuesday and it reveals that Joe Biden had never heard of Sarah Palin when she was selected as the GOP candidate. That is not unprecedented. When Republicans selected future President Rutherford B. Hayes he promised the New York delegation they could pick the vice presidential candidate. The Empire State had a crucial role in nominating Hayes, and it was the most powerful delegation at the GOP Convention.
The NY Republican Party of 1876 was divided into two warring factions, and it was necessary to find a relative unknown on whom both factions could agree. Hayes went to sleep and his running mate was nominated by acclamation the next morning. When Hayes was informed the selection was William A. Wheeler, he replied “I am ashamed to say this, but who is Wheeler?”
He was a NY Congressman who was an early champion of civil rights, and his honesty and integrity were praised in John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage.” Unlike many who have served as President and Vice President, Hayes and Wheeler developed a close friendship during the White House years. Hayes later wrote, Wheeler “was one of the few Vice Presidents who were on cordial terms, intimate and friendly, with the President. Our family was heartily fond of him.”

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What is Special About the President’s Desk? by Gregory Hilton

President Kennedy, working late at his White House office, wears a slight smile on his face, indicating perhaps he is not completely unaware that his son, John Jr., is exploring under his desk in the Oval Office in the White House in 1963. John Jr. called the spot under the desk "my house" and was peeking from behind the "secret door." (AP Photo/Look Magazine, Stanley Tretick, File)
President Obama uses the HMS Resolute desk in the Oval Office. It was a present from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford Hayes in 1880. Every president since Hayes, except Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, has used the desk. It was on display in the Smithsonian from 1964 to 1977. Most presidents had the desk placed in either their study, the Treaty Room, or the Yellow Oval Room. The first president to move the Resolute desk to the Oval office was John F. Kennedy, and replicas can now be found in the JFK, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton presidential libraries.