CLOSE

Secrets of Past Elections Revealed! (1996)

After every presidential election since 1984, Newsweek has printed the best gossipy stories, revealing all the whining and backbiting of America's greatest spectacle. Linda Rodriguez has gone through Newsweek's archives to pick out some memorable moments from recent elections, and we'll be posting her stories throughout the week.

This election saw President Bill Clinton "“ on the heels of several big time scandals, including that whole Gennifer Flowers thing "“ soundly trounce former Senator Bob Dole, even after the senator resigned his position to demonstrate his commitment to the campaign. Texas businessman Ross Perot, who once described himself as "an albino monkey," ran again, this time with more sideshow antics than when he tried in 1992. In the end, Clinton became a second-termer "“ and went on to some even bigger scandals!

Unpredictable, that's Bob Dole

From the outset of his campaign, Bob Dole staffers routinely complained that they didn't know what Dole was going to say at a given speech until he said it, even after he had been carefully groomed, rehearsed, and coached. Dole seemed to take a petulant delight in off-the-cuff remarks "“ like accusing President Clinton of cheating at golf "“ or even flubbing his lines. Dole also liked to prepare for speeches while tanning on hotel roofs and eating chocolate ice cream.

The age factor

One of the biggest perceived differences between Bob Dole and President Bill Clinton was their respective ages. Clinton represented a younger generation, someone who could appeal to the recently named "soccer moms," while Bob Dole was from an era before America had even heard of soccer. When the press asked the two candidates what had been their respective favorite TV shows growing up, Clinton named Bonanza. Dole said TV hadn't been invented yet.

Down and on his way out

Bob Dole's campaign was broke "“ so broke that by the spring of 1996, the campaign was holding rallies in outdoor spaces in order to avoid renting a hall. That wasn't the worst of his troubles "“ after he resigned the senate in a bid to focus on his floundering campaign and to divorce himself from his Washington insider image, reporters started calling his campaign plane, "Citizen's Ship," the "Sinking Ship." Incidentally, the press plane had its own great name "“ the "Bullship."

Slogans are always better when they rhyme

One bumper sticker slogan batted around the Dole camp was luckily shot down: "Our goal, your soul, Bob Dole." Catchy.

Oops

By the time election night rolled around, Bob Dole had largely accepted defeat. Still, he wanted to make sure that California's votes were in and counted before he officially conceded the election. Even that was bungled, however, after a campaign staffer accidentally released Dole's concession statement, which was promptly picked up by all the major networks and reported. The campaign issued a retraction, though it might not have mattered at that point.

The dance of winners!

There was much celebrating in the Clinton camp the night before the election, after Clinton ended his final campaign speech of his elected career. Flying Air Force One back to Little Rock, Clinton entertained the troops by dancing the Macarena.

Previously: 1988, 1984, 1992

arrow
History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
iStock
iStock

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios