The Race for the White House produces two things: lots of attack ads and unwitting overnight celebrities. Think Sister Souljah. Joe the Plumber. Clint Eastwood’s empty chair. The little boy who spelled “potato” without an “e,” only to have Vice President Dan Quayle helpfully “correct” him. With election season again upon us, The Washington Times continues its series remembering some of our favorite campaign one-hit wonders and asking: Where are they now?
Then: Ms. Quinnell, a 75-year-old McCain-Palin volunteer from Minnesota, called Barack Obama “an Arab” during a 2008 campaign event, leaving a flabbergasted John McCain to respond, “No, ma’am. [Mr. Obama is] a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”
Now: Ms. Quinnell was parodied on “Saturday Night Live” and her family claimed she received death threats. Her daughter, Carol Rue, later told reporters that her mother checked out a library book that incorrectly identified Mr. Obama as Muslim and that Ms. Quinnell laughed when she saw the “SNL” skit.
Fun fact: During a January rally for Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, an audience member said that Mr. Obama was an “avowed Muslim” with “no legal right to be president.” Perhaps said library book remains in circulation.
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Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
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