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The Quick 10: 10 Campaign Slogans of the Past

At this point, we're all pretty overloaded on "Yes We Can," "Change You Can Believe In," "Straight Talk," and "Country First." But do you remember Herbert Hoover's slogan? How about FDR? Let's take a break from Straight Talk and Change and revisit some slogans that helped the candidate move into the White House.

1. "A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage." That was Herbert Hoover's promise, which he obviously wasn't able to deliver. There was also the lesser known, "Hoover and Happiness or Smith and Soup Houses."

2. "A Return to Normalcy" maybe doesn't sound like the most thrilling campaign slogan, but when you consider that it was Warren G. Harding's commitment to people just coming out of WWI, it probably sounded pretty good. Harding was also the first candidate to rely on the power of Hollywood - his backers included Al Jolson, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. For those not into the old Hollywood scene, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks would be the equivalent of having Brad and Angelina back your campaign today.

3. "Are You Better Off Today Than You Were Four Years Ago?" A compelling question by Ronald Reagan. Jimmy Carter's approval ratings were terrible, so this question really hit where it hurt.

eleanor4. "Better a Third-Termer Than a Third-Rater." This, of course, belonged to FDR. As did this one: "Two good terms deserve another." FDR'S 1940 campaign against Willkie was pretty heated, actually, and the two of them were trotting out humorous barbs on a nearly weekly basis.

5. "Tippecanoe and Tyler too." I remember the slogan (although it was a song first), but I can never remember who actually used it. If you're like me, here you go: It was William Henry Harrison's. When he led an army of more than 1,000 men into battle against the Shawnee and came out the victor, he soon became known as "Old Tip," because the battle had taken place next to the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers. Reminding voters of his supposed war prowess must have worked, because Harrison was elected in 1840.

sunflower6. "Sunflowers Die in November." It doesn't have much to do with issues, but it's clever: FDR used this slogan in '36 against his opponent, Kansas governor Alf Landon. The Kansas state flower? The sunflower, of course.

7. "It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river." Heard that one before? Like, about four years ago? Well, it was "borrowed" from one of the best - Abraham Lincoln. He used it while campaigning for his second term in 1864.

8. "Vote as You Shot!" Ulysses S. Grant supporters made no bones about it - if you were on the Union side in the war, you'd better be voting for him.

9. "Grandfather's Hat Fits Ben." Who else could this be but Benjamin Harrison, the grandson of Old Tip himself? And maybe the hat did fit, but only for four years - after one term, Ben was voted out of office in favor of the man who had also preceded him - Grover Cleveland.

10. "Would You Buy a Used Car From This Man?" Ha. It may not have been JFK's main slogan (he also used "A Time for Greatness" and "We Can Do Better"), but it's definitely the funniest. His camp used a picture of Nixon glowering and looking particularly smarmy along with that slogan. Brilliant.

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
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Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

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