FREMONT, OHIO - The radio and television commercials scream their pitches. "I want to be elected..." On and on, they go as candidates for office maneuver, trying to catch as many ears as they can.
However, generations ago, an Ohioan running for president, Rutherford B. Hayes, declined to comment publicly on his bid for the presidency. In fact, he won the job at the White House in 1876 without ever leaving his front porch in Fremont. He let his supporters do all the talking, and they talked him and talked him into the presidency.
"Even if you wanted to be president, you weren't supposed to let anyone know you wanted," said Thomas Culbertson, executive director of the Hayes Presidential Center on the ground of the Hayes home. "In that way, you would appear like you weren't overly anxious; that you were presidential."
I took a walk through the Hayes Presidential Center, learning more about the Republican governor of Ohio, who had earlier become a hero in the Civil War. His party liked him so much, they ran him for governor, where he won three elections.
Figuring he could carry a population-rich state like Ohio, they suggested Hayes run for president. When he won the White House, he learned he had to bring his own carriage, for the government did not supply transportation for a president as he moved about Washington. He also had to pay for all the food on his own dinner table.
If Rutherford or his wife, Lucy, wanted a midnight snack in the kitchen, all that was in the cupboard was what they would have put there.