Best and worst: Presidential campaign 2008
By Patrick Kevin Day, Joseph A. Kapsch, Stephanie Lysaght, Todd Martens, Denise Martin and Jevon Phillips, Times Staff Writers
The presidential campaign sure has been a long, strange trip full of lots of highs and lows. It’s almost hard to fathom that just months ago most Americans had never even heard the name Sarah Palin.
And Palin is hardly the only overnight phenom to emerge from this race to the White House. The cast of characters includes Gayle Quinnell, a.k.a. “crazy McCain lady”; Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. Joe the Plumber; and many more.
In this retrospective, we take a look back at some of the best speeches, worst gaffes and biggest shockers of this election season. (Peter Foley / EPA)
Hillary’s New Hampshire comeback
After a disappointing third-place finish in the
Forget the Obama-McCain debates or the Biden-Palin debate. The real debate fireworks this election season took place between Democratic Party rivals
Bill Clinton’s Barack Obama-Jesse Jackson comparison
In what many saw as an effort to downplay
With the inference of racial politics in the foreground, Obama responded on “ABC’s This Week” to Clinton’s remarks, and didn’t seem at all discouraged by the comparisons. (Erik S. Lesser / EPA)
Rudy Giuliani’s Florida gamble
Many called his political strategy risky, but when former New York
His standings in the polls slipped as
Who could forget Barack Obama’s “bitter” comments, heard around the world?
During a private fundraiser in San Francisco, Obama was caught on tape suggesting that small-town Americans are bitter about economic conditions and that’s why they “cling to guns and religion.”
Republican candidates are always at a bit of a loss when it comes to harnessing Hollywood’s star power for their campaigns. While
McCain gets BarackRolld
Another reason to give it up for Rick Astley: The vision of Barack Obama punking John McCain to the sounds of Never Gonna Give You Up at the Republican National Convention. Cindy McCain and the Palin children go wild. (Shawn Thew / EPA)
Dennis Kucinich’s UFO sighting
Already an outside candidate, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio may have helped sink his campaign a bit when he acknowledged seeing a UFO. The sighting was mentioned in a book by Shirley MacLaine, and Kucinich later joked about it, saying that he might move his campaign to Roswell, N.M. Kucinich defended himself and stuck by his words.
“You have to keep in mind that more ... that Jimmy Carter saw a UFO and also that more people in this country have seen UFOs than I think approve of George Bush’s presidency,” Kucinich said. (Ron Edmonds / Associated Press)
Both candidates kept us waiting. First was
Sarah Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe malfunction
Republican National Committee reports stated that the Palin family got $150,000 worth of clothing, but Palin told the Chicago Tribune, I don’t think it was anywhere near.... What did they say ... 150 grand? It wasn’t anywhere near that.
Palins alleged exorbitant fashion expenditures raised quite a few eyebrows, especially in light of her folksy, working-mother persona. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)
Joe the Plumber takes center stage
It all started during a campaign stop to Holland,
John McCain snubs David Letterman
Sen. John McCain was scheduled to appear on Late Show With David Letterman on Sept. 24 but backed out at the last minute, saying he had suspended his campaign to focus on the financial crisis. Then, instead of high-tailing it to Washington, McCain sat down for an interview with CBS’ Katie Couric.
Letterman was none too happy with the abandonment, and he poked fun at McCain for days on end. I feel like an ugly date, Letterman joked. I feel used. I feel cheap. I feel sullied. Three weeks later, McCain appeared on Lettermans show. (J.P. Filo / Associated Press)
After several contentious mornings on The View, word spread that conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck would be leaving for her own show on Fox News. She later denied the reports on-air, but it came as no surprise when news broke that she would be campaigning for Palin in
And, at the very least, Hasselbeck was able to address the charges that Palins wardrobe was costing the campaign a pretty penny. Instead of the issues, [the media are] focused, fixated, on her wardrobe.... This is deliberately sexist. Palin took the stage a moment later to say: Those clothes? Theyre not my property. Im not taking them with me. Im back to wearing my own clothes from my favorite consignment shop in
Lipstick on a pig: What did
During her convention speech, vice presidential nominee
Later, during a
Republicans insisted that Obamas remarks were directed at Palin, even though McCain himself had used the common phrase just a year earlier in reference to one of
Obama turns lemons into A More Perfect Union
But instead of buckling under the pressure of public scrutiny of his personal relationships, Obama used the Wright controversy as a chance to promote racial unity in his stirring A More Perfect Union speech at the National Constitution Center in
Spielberg created a short and poignant film that was a centerpiece of this summer’s Democratic National Convention. The famed director interviewed veterans of multiple wars and touched on an array of lifestyles and issues in a matter of minutes.
Unlike most of these sorts of tributes, Spielbergs film wasnt lacking in details (a pan of houses with service flags hanging out front, a shot of empty boots and uniforms from fallen soldiers) and an ever-so-slight hint at the deeper concern -- the quality of care and service being provided to our vets upon their return from the front lines. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
Where any song with the word Vietnam probably has an uphill battle, one must note that the sleek, arrow-shaped Yee Haw guitar is kinda cool. (Ron Edmonds / Associated Press)
It’s not quite a song, and not quite a speech, but will.i.am made an early splash with his celeb-packed viral video, which featured the likes of