Franklin Who? The President We All Forgot

You think you have a Herculean marketing challenge? Consider Jayme Simoes's.

Mr. Simoes, president of a Concord, N.H., public-relations agency, is trying to drum up interest in a 19th-century president. It's not the revered Abraham Lincoln or the fierce Andrew Jackson. Mr. Simoes's man is the only president in American history whose own party didn't nominate him for a second term: the hapless bungler, Franklin Pierce.

"By the time he left office in 1857, Pierce couldn't have been elected dogcatcher," Mr. Simoes concedes.

Next year is the bicentennial of the 14th president's birth, however, and Mr. Simoes says it's time to take a fresh look at this misunderstood man from New Hampshire, whom history has treated with such brutal indifference. Mr. Simoes is trying to raise money for a yearlong commemoration of Pierce, including lectures, exhibits and perhaps even an "inaugural ball." He is also looking for a good Franklin Pierce impersonator.

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