How Much Do You Really Know About the Presidential Candidates?

How Much Do You Really Know
About The Presidential Candidates?
By Abby Shepherd

Foreign policy experience, health care plans and national security aside, what do you really know about the politicians running for office? By now, many of us can recite our favorite candidates' stump speeches and have memorized the delegate count for each state. But it is easy to forget that these superhuman, 24/7 political machines are actually people too.

Barack Obama

boThe Grammy-winning candidate is already known for his two bestselling books, Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts of Reclaiming the American Dream. But, there is more to the Senator from Illinois. Barack met his wife, Michelle while both were working in the Chicago law firm scene. On their first date, they saw the movie Do the Right Thing. The rest, as they say, is history.

Obama is also publicly known for his ethnicity; his mother was from Kansas and his father from Kenya. But Obama also lived in Indonesia as a child because his mother remarried after a divorce. He has a half sister who is Canadian and Indonesian. When Obama appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, he openly talked about his diverse family. His wife often refers to the family's Thanksgiving and Christmas as a gathering of the United Nations.

John McCain

john-mccain3.jpgAfter acquiring the appropriate number of delegates to secure the Republican nomination for president, McCain now must turn his attention to the real thing-becoming President of the United States.

McCain comes from a long military lineage. His father was a four-star admiral who served in Vietnam as commander of all US forces in the Pacific. His grandfather saw the Japanese surrender September 6, 1945 when he was stationed onboard the USS Missouri. McCain himself served as a naval aviator and was held as a Prisoner of War for five-and-a-half years in Vietnam.

According to his own book, Faith of My Fathers, McCain admits to holding his breath as a child if he didn't get what he wanted. This standoff would often last until McCain blacked out.

Hillary Clinton

hcShe has been in the national spotlight ever since her husband was in the White House. Clinton was the first First Lady to then run for public office. She became the Senator of New York in 2000. Clinton and Obama are now in a nail-biting race for the Democratic nomination for President.

As a child, Clinton once wrote to NASA asking for advice on how to become an astronaut. NASA wrote back to Clinton telling her that women can't become astronauts. Apparently, they can become Senators and run for President.

Clinton received her law degree from Yale Law School and has twice been named one of the 100 most influential attorneys at law in the United States. She also was a staff member for the House Judiciary Committee impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon.

Mike Huckabee

mhAlthough Huckabee isn't technically in the race to the White House anymore, the former Arkansas governor has too many interesting tidbits to not include him in our list. According to The Thomas Report, a conservative online blog site, Huckabee has about 29 interesting facts to be exact.

Huckabee has appeared numerous times on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report and admits to actually liking the show, which pokes fun at many conservative politicians and platforms. Also, Huckabee is known for undergoing gastric bypass surgery and one of his favorite "diet" foods is Yarnell's guilt free ice cream. He also likes movie theater style popcorn and received a popcorn machine for Christmas from his wife, Janet.

Ron Paul

rpPaul is currently running as a Republican candidate, however, his more Libertarian views has earned him a cult following online and among young voters. On December 16, 2007, Paul raised over $6 million dollars in 24 hours which is the largest one-day Internet fundraiser in American political history.

Paul was a track star at Dormont High School high school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In his junior year, Paul was state champion for the 220-yard dash and placed second in the 440-yard run.

Paul attended Duke University School of Medicine and graduated with a degree in obstetrics and gynecology. He later became a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon and served outside the Vietnam War Zone.

During Ron Paul's 1988 presidential campaign, when he ran as a Libertarian, John McCain told his campaign chair, "You're working for the most honest man in Congress."

Let's try to keep it civil, but do you have any interesting facts about the candidates?

Check out the rest of our College Weekend festivities.

Win a Trip to Any National Park By Instagramming Your Travels

If you're planning out your summer vacation, make sure to add a few national parks to your itinerary. Every time you share your travels on Instagram, you can increase your chances of winning a VIP trip for two to the national park of your choice.

The National Park Foundation is hosting its "Pic Your Park" sweepstakes now through September 28. To participate, post your selfies from visits to National Park System (NPS) properties on Instagram using the hashtag #PicYourParkContest and a geotag of the location. Making the trek to multiple parks increases your points, with less-visited parks in the system having the highest value. During certain months, the point values of some sites are doubled. You can find a list of participating properties and a schedule of boost periods here.

Following the contest run, the National Park Foundation will decide a winner based on most points earned. The grand prize is a three-day, two-night trip for the winner and a guest to any NPS property within the contiguous U.S. Round-trip airfare and hotel lodging are included. The reward also comes with a 30-day lease of a car from Subaru, the contest's sponsor.

The contest is already underway, with a leader board on the website keeping track of the competition. If you're looking to catch up, this national parks road trip route isn't a bad place to start.

15 Dad Facts for Father's Day

Gather 'round the grill and toast Dad for Father's Day—the national holiday so awesome that Americans have celebrated it for more than a century. Here are 15 Dad facts you can wow him with today.

1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

2. George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no children of his own. A 2004 study suggested that a type of tuberculosis that Washington contracted in childhood may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children from Martha Custis's first marriage.

3. In Thailand, the king's birthday also serves as National Father's Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honor—the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.

4. In 1950, after a Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman's daughter Margaret's concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: "Some day I hope to meet you," he wrote. "When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

5. A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin's teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher's favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher's pet swan.

6. Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera's father-in-law. Rivera's marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, "If I see Gerry again, I'll spit in his face." He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

7. Andre Agassi's father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.

8. Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the "king and father of Europe" [PDF]. Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, most Europeans may be able to claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.

9. The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.

10. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.

11. The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single "Something Stupid" by Frank & Nancy Sinatra.

12. In the underwater world of the seahorse, it's the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.

13. If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

14. The Stevie Wonder song "Isn't She Lovely" is about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.

15. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: "Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"


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