NORTON, Kan., (UPI) — Mitt Romney, who missed President Obama’s inauguration, was to be inaugurated Tuesday into a small Kansas bank’s gallery of failed nominees, the curator said.
The former Massachusetts governor, who lost his second White House bid in November, was to be enshrined at 10 a.m. CST in the They Also Ran Gallery on the second floor of the First State Bank in Norton, gallery curator Lee Ann Shearer told the Salina (Kan.) Journal.
The subheading on the gallery’s window says, “Presidential Candidates Who Were Defeated … but Not Forgotten.”
Romney’s portrait and biography — to be unveiled at a free “Inaugural Event and Reception,” with coffee and cookies — were to be the 60th in the bank’s gallery of presidential losers.
“I’ve tried to make it a party and a little inauguration,” Shearer told the newspaper. “After a welcome, I will have a little talk about the rejected candidate.”
Romney spent Monday at one of his homes in La Jolla, Calif. An aide told NBC News before Obama’s inauguration it was “doubtful” the GOP presidential nominee would watch the ceremonies on television.
The aide said Romney and his wife, Ann, had “no big plans” for Monday.
Romney’s absence made him the first losing candidate not to attend the inauguration since 1989, when Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis didn’t attend George H.W. Bush’s swearing in. Instead, he stayed in his home state, watched on TV and ate a tuna sandwich, NBC said.
Romney’s portrait joins the Library of Congress likenesses of Republican John McCain, Democrat Al Gore, Democrat John Kerry, Republican Bob Dole and other presidential losers going back to Thomas Jefferson — a presidential candidate who lost to John Adams in 1796 but later won, defeating Adams for the presidency in 1800.
“We’ll have winners mixed in with losers. There’s at least one picture for every presidential election year,” Shearer told the newspaper.
The gallery — whose online version can be found at theyalsoran.com — was started by former bank President William Walter Rouse in 1965, who came up with the idea after reading a book by Irving Stone titled “They Also Ran,” about losing presidential candidates throughout history.
After another location for the gallery didn’t work out, Rouse made room for it on the bank’s second floor.
“That’s where it’s been for 48 years, like a little treasure,” Shearer told the Journal.
No losing presidential candidate has visited the gallery, Shearer said — not even Dole, who represented Kansas as a U.S. senator and once visited Norton.