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: Co-starred in one of the most iconic — and, regardless of your politics, visually humorous — moments of the 1988 presidential race, as video footage of Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis wearing a Marvin the Martian-shaming green helmet and riding around in Sterling Heights, Mich., in an Abrams M1-A-1 battle tank became fodder for a Republican attack ad.
Now: Introduced in 1980, General Dynamics Corp.’s Abrams continues to evolve and serve as the Army’s main battle tank, performing admirably in the Gulf and Iraq Wars.
Fun fact: According to the Los Angeles Times, not one, but two of Mr. Dukakis‘ aides warned him that riding in the tank would make him look ridiculous.
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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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