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: While moderating the final 1988 presidential debate, former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw triggered gasps from the press room and national controversy by asking Michael Dukakis, “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” Mr. Dukakis‘ quick, seemingly unemotional answer — “No, I don’t, Bernard, and I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life” — produced a dramatic overnight polling drop and contributed to his electoral defeat.
Now:Mr. Shaw went on to anchor CNN’s highly acclaimed, live-from-Baghdad coverage of the first Gulf War. He retired in 2001 at age 60 and lives in suburban Washington, where he golfs, gives corporate speeches and occasionally opines on the news.
Quotable: Before the debate, Mr. Shaw previously had asked Dan Quayle if it was “fear of being killed in Vietnam” that had caused him to join the National Guard, asked Al Gore what he would do if he or one of his children got AIDS and asked Al Haig, “Do you think [George H.W.] Bush is a wimp?”
Fun fact:Mr. Shaw recently recorded a voice-over for a television special on the 80th anniversary of the Washington Redskins.
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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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