Independent voices from the TWT Communities
At a 1988 campaign event, Frank Fahey, a New Hampshire high school teacher, asked Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Delaware Democrat, about his law school performance. An irritated Mr. Biden responded that he probably had a higher IQ than Mr. Fahey and that he had earned three degrees as an undergraduate, gone to law school on a full academic scholarship and finished in the top half of his class — none of which turned out to be true. Mr. Biden later dropped out of the presidential race.
A 12-year-old boy from New Jersey, William Figueroa, correctly spelled "potato" in a mock spelling bee in 1992 — only to have Vice President Dan Quayle urge him via flash card to add an "e" to the end of the word. The rest is late-night talk show monologue history.
One of the most iconic — and, regardless of your politics, visually humorous — moments of the 1988 presidential race was 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.
A Rutgers graduate and House legislative intern-turned-Afrocentric rapper and social activist, Sister Souljah courted controversy via sharp-tongued criticism of racism and the federal government.
Model and actress Amber Lee Ettinger became a national sensation when her 2007 YouTube video "Crush on Obama" tallied nearly 25 million hits, eventually landing the 29-year-old New Yorker on "Saturday Night Live."
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?"
Gayle 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."
"God damn America!" Those three words were replayed ad nauseam in 2008, when video of a fiery sermon delivered by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright threatened to derail Barack Obama's presidential aspirations.
James Stockdale, the former pilot and bona fide Vietnam War hero, received a Medal of Honor after spending more than seven years in a North Vietnamese prison. None of that mattered in 1992, when his memorable opening line in the vice presidential debate — "Who am I? Why am I here?" — became comedy gold.
A freckle-faced toddler, Monique Corzilius was the face of the most notorious attack ad in campaign history, 1964's "Daisy" spot.
Even today, the photo remains iconic, the snapshot seen 'round the world: a man holding a magnifying glass, eyebrows furrowed in concentration, peering at a disputed punch card ballot, riddled with questionable holes.
When the eight Democratic presidential candidates recently debated at Howard University, the opportunity presented itself on many occasions for the candidates discuss the social pathologies facing much of black America. In a debate that focused on poverty and education, two trends went completely unmentioned: (1) the nearly 70 percent of black children who are born out-of-wedlock; and (2) the taunting of black children who take their studies seriously.