presidential timber


Senior Member
Dear all
Please kindly adivse what's meant by "presidential timber" in the following context, taken from "Poor Little Rich Boy" (biography of W.R. Hearst, press magnate) in "The Big Money" by Dos Passos:
His editorials hammered at malefactors of great wealth, tursts, the G.O.P., Mark Hanna and McKinley so shrilly that when McKinley was assassinated most Republicans in some way considered Hearst responsible for his death.
Hearst retorted by renaming the Morning Journal the American
and stepping into the limelight
wearing a black frockcoat and a tengallon hat,
presidential timber,
the millionaire candidate of the common man
What confuses me is that Hearst never ran for presidential elections himself though he supported greatly W.J Bryan against McKinley; then, next presidential elections happened in 1900 while McKinley was not yet assassinated.
So, what's the meaning of "presidential timber, the millionaire candidate of the common man"?
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  • presidential timber - the stuff that presidents are made from.
    The fact that was never president is not important.

    The millionaire candidate of the common man - is probably suggesting that although WRH was a millionaire he had many qualities that made him popular with the common man - but wait for an expert :)
    I wonder if DosPassos means this, Mr.K:
    7. fig. Bodily structure, frame, build. In later use, the ‘stuff’ of which a person is made; personal quality or character; preceded by a qualifying word: suitable quality or character for the specified office, etc. 7. Chiefly U.S. [OED]

    i.e. he stepped back into the limelight looking like or in the manner of a presidential candidate.
    Thanks both of you; "presidential timber" is now quite clear, thanks to your helpful comments but I'm still at a loss how did Hearst "retort"? by renaming the Morning Journal and stepping into the limelight? what was the target?
    Reading "The Chief, The Life of William Randolph Hearst" by David Nasaw, I find there's quite a story behind that passage.
    Thanks anyway dear Ewie, dear Panj.
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