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The Late Movies: 6 Controversial Campaign Songs

Even if you're not living in the United States of America right now, it's hard to ignore that it's Election Night. While Barack Obama and Mitt Romney duke it out over the presidency, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief that the seemingly endless campaigns have finally come to an end. No more commercials! No more flyers in the door! No more robocalls! (At least not for another few years.) But, in keeping with the American spirit of tonight, I thought I'd give a nod to some presidential campaign gaffes. Here, six campaign songs gone wrong.

1. Born in the USA

In 1984, Ronald Reagan sought re-election using this popular Bruce Springsteen tune, hoping to get an endorsement from the Boss. What Reagan didn't know was that Springsteen is extremely liberal.

2. American Girl

In 2011, Tom Petty put the kibosh on Republican Representative Michele Bachmann using this famous song by sending her a cease and desist order.

3. Barracuda

Sarah Palin used this famous Heart song during her 2008 run for vice president, because her high school nickname was "Sarah Barracuda." Heart was displeased and said, "We ask that our song 'Barracuda' no longer be used to promote her image. The song 'Barracuda' was written in the late Seventies as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women."

4. Hold On, I'm Coming

Sam Moore asked Barack Obama to stop using this song at his campaign rallies in 2008. (Interestingly, Moore rewrote the Sam & Dave hit "Soul Man" as "Dole Man," used by Republican Bob Dole's 1996 campaign.)

5. I Won't Back Down

In 2000, Tom Petty asked George W. Bush to stop using this song at campaign events. In 2008, Hillary Clinton used the song during her presidential primary campaign without any argument from Petty.

6. Our Country

John Mellencamp is one of many artists who asked John McCain to stop using their songs during his campaigns. McCain also ruffled the feathers of the Foo Fighters, Van Halen and Jackson Browne; Browne eventually sued him for $75,000.

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Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
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While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
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Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

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