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5 Election Day Superstitions

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Just like athletes before a big game, politicians and their camps often have superstitions leading up to big elections.

1. Obama Shoots Hoops


As a big basketball fan, it’s no surprise that Obama likes to hit the hardwood when he can find the time. And there's one day when finding time is absolutely necessary: Election Day. “We made the mistake of not playing basketball once. I can assure you we will not repeat that,” Obama aide Robert Gibbs told the Chicago Sun-Times, referring to the 2008 New Hampshire primary that Hillary Clinton won.


The President worked yesterday’s game in at the Hope Athletic Center in Chicago and called in a little extra help: former Chicago Bulls superstar Scottie Pippen. Pippen was on Obama’s team. They won.

2. James Carville Grosses Out Wife Mary Matalin

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Democratic analyst James Carville had a rather stinky habit when he was the lead strategist during Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. When things seemed to be going well, Carville would refuse to change underwear for several days just to make sure the luck held. He later claimed that although he wore the same pair every day, they visited the washing machine every night.

3. John McCain Catches a Flick

In 2008, McCain’s daughter Meghan told People magazine about her dad’s somewhat surprising superstition: “He always goes to a movie on election day. He usually goes in the early afternoon.”

But that wasn’t the only trick up McCain’s sleeve. He also carried around a lucky penny, nickel, quarter, compass, and feather. He wore lucky rubber-soled L.L. Bean dress shoes and counted on a “lucky food”—barbeque—before every debate. McCain’s strategist said it was in keeping with “the ancient tradition of slaughtering the hog before slaughtering the opponent.”

4. William McKinley’s Flower Power

Nucky Thompson’s got nothing on William McKinley. When McKinley won a Congressional seat in his home state of Ohio in 1876, he was wearing a red carnation. It became his lucky charm after that, one that he thought held luck not only for himself, but anyone he gave it to. McKinley had just given the carnation to a 12-year-old girl named Myrtle moments before he was fatally shot in 1901. Might history have taken a different turn if he had kept his lapel decor? We’ll never know.

5. No Swearing-In on Sundays

Even after they’re elected, some Presidents won’t give up the habits that got them there. In 1849, incoming President Zachary Taylor was scheduled to be sworn in on Sunday, March 4. Believing Sunday to be a holy day, Taylor refused. His vice president, Millard Fillmore, was likewise not sworn in that day. Since James K. Polk’s official last day was Saturday, March 3, some believe that President pro tempore David Atchison was technically president for one day—March 4. Taylor was sworn in on March 5.

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Animals
Watch a Rogue Pet Dog Interrupt a Russian News Anchor on Air
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Last week, a Russian news broadcast briefly went to the dogs after its host was startled by a surprise co-anchor: a friendly black canine that wandered on set, announced its presence with a loud bark, and climbed onto her desk.

 

As TODAY reports, Mir24 TV anchor Ilona Linarte went off script for a few minutes, telling viewers "I've got a dog here. What is this dog doing in the studio?" After the initial shock wore off, she gave her furry guest a tepid welcome, patting its head as she gently pushed it off the desk. ("I actually prefer cats,'' Linarte remarked. "I'm a cat lady.")

Linarte’s query was answered when the TV station announced that the dog had accompanied another show’s guest on set, and somehow got loose. That said, rogue animals have a proud tradition of crashing live news broadcasts around the world, so we’re assuming this won’t be the last time a news anchor is upstaged by an adorable guest star (some of which have better hair than them).

[h/t TODAY]

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Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0
SpaceX Is Sending Two Private Citizens Around the Moon
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Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0

Two members of the public are set to take an historic trip around the Moon, according to an announcement from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. As The Verge reports, the anonymous private citizens have already placed substantial deposits on the commercial space flight.

The private spacecraft company SpaceX revealed on Monday that the Falcon Heavy rocket will be launching with its Crew Dragon spacecraft in late 2018. The mission will consist of a circumnavigation of the Moon, passing over the body’s surface before traveling farther into space and returning to Earth. In total, the trip will cover 300,000 to 400,000 miles and take a week to complete.

A noteworthy part of the plan is the human cargo that will be on board. Instead of professional astronauts, the craft will carry two paying customers into space. The passengers, who’ve yet to be named, will both need to pass several fitness tests before they're permitted to make the journey. According to The Verge, Musk said the customers are “very serious” and that the cost of the trip is “comparable” to that of a crewed mission to the International Space Station. The goal for SpaceX is to eventually send one or two commercial flights into space each year, which could account for 10 to 20 percent of the company’s earnings.

[h/t The Verge]

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