The Ancient Websites of 8 Republican Presidential Candidates

The race for the 2012 Republican nomination is in full swing. During the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time learning about the candidates' records, their personal histories, and the qualities that make them fit to be America’s commander in chief. But there’s a far more important issue we haven’t perused: Their websites.

Their OLD websites.

With the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, we can see what the candidates were doing online long before this election cycle. Most of the links inside these websites are still functional—let's do a little exploring!

1. Herman Cain (1998)

Welcome to the Hermanator Experience! Here you can find Cain’s biography, presented in true Horatio Alger fashion (right down to his membership in the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Inc.) The "Products" page promotes his motivational books and cassette tapes, among which are Save the Frog and Success is a Journey.

2. Mitt Romney (2002)

Former governors tend to keep their websites pretty buttoned up. There isn’t a lot of material here until we arrive at the “Kids' Page,” where we learn that Mitt’s favorite food is...meatloaf. And he’s a Coen Brothers fan. Under the “Goodies” tab at the bottom, there are several stylish desktop backgrounds supporting the campaign, including this "Mitt Happens" gem:

3. Rick Perry (1998)

Governor Perry’s personal campaign website has a lengthy history, dating back to his first run for lieutenant governor. Aside from Perry’s affinity for denim shirts, a run through his site yields several interesting tidbits. Celebrity endorsements come from Ben Crenshaw, Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Nolan Ryan, and (most importantly) Chuck Norris.

A link to Perry's 1997 Agriculture Commissioner bio reveals his thoughts on sponges, legalizing home-equity loans in Texas, and the importance of washing your hands.

4. Newt Gingrich (1997)

Behold our former Speaker of the House in all his jovial, paisley glory. He’s clearly a fan of the “more is better” approach when it comes to displaying our national coat of arms. One of the site's FAQs is "How old is Newt?" “Newt’s Picture Book” contains nine slightly larger than thumbnail-sized photos (they must have been bumping up against their bandwidth limit). The prize here is a photo of Gingrich and Izzy, the 1996 Olympic Games mascot.

5. John Huntsman (2005)

Nothing too garish here from the former Utah governor’s website. Perhaps that’s because his footprint on the Internet’s series of tubes is one of the shortest. Or it could be the fact that Huntsman seems to be a very shrewd operator; his bio notes that in addition to being fluent in Mandarin, he was the youngest U.S. ambassador (to anywhere) in a century.

6. Ron Paul (1997)

Ron Paul's site looks perfectly at home in 1997. The all caps declaration of FREEDOM, the elegant .gif of a Texas flag blowing in the Internet breeze—it’s almost too much to take in. Then there’s The Honorable Ron Paul, M.D. himself, looking spry and svelte as ever in his early sixties. Under “E-Mailed Responses to US Representative Ron Paul And the Cause of Liberty,” you’ll find a list of supporters who wrote in with the kind of sentiments that have made Paul a grassroots sensation, including one from a constituent who found Paul’s site via an “Alta Vista” search (quotations his).

7. Michele Bachmann (2002)

As a Minnesota state senator, Bachmann had a dedicated website up and running in 2002. In "Quotables,” she gets a fake endorsement from Elvis. (“Thank you, thank you very much.”) And the "Just for Fun!" section includes a link to something called Dancing George Bush—"This takes a little while to load but is well worth the time"—that sadly has not been preserved by the Wayback Machine.

8. Rick Santorum (2000)

“Hello! Welcome to my home page on the World Wide Web,” he calls to us over a dial-up connection. His page is careful to note that although they accept e-mails from constituents, replies can only take place via regular mail. Weekly columns shed light on Santorum’s views about a variety of happenings, including the balanced budget agreement of 1997 (my, how wistful those words now make us).

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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