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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).

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10 Fab Facts About George Harrison
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You probably know George Harrison as a Beatle, the lead guitarist of the most famous band in the world. We’re guessing that there’s a lot you don’t know about the youngest of The Fab Four, who was born on this day in 1943.

1. HE WAS ONLY 27 WHEN THE BEATLES BROKE UP.


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George Harrison turned 27 on February 25, 1970, less than two months before Paul McCartney told the world he had no future plans to work with the Beatles. It had been 12 years since Harrison had joined John Lennon’s band, The Quarrymen—shortly after McCartney, his Liverpool schoolmate—in 1958.

2. HE INVENTED THE MEGASTAR ROCK BENEFIT CONCERT.

Before Harrison organized the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh, there were performances for charity, of course. But when his friend, the great Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, told him about the plight of Bangladeshi refugees, victims of both war and a devastating cyclone who now faced starvation, Harrison felt compelled to devote himself to the cause. He recruited stars like Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Badfinger, and Leon Russell, and together they played two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden on August 1, 1971. Harrison then arranged for the release of a concert album and film. The ventures had raised more than $12 million by 1985, and profits from sales of the movie and soundtrack continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.

3. HE WROTE “CRACKERBOX PALACE” ABOUT HIS QUIRKY MANSION.

Harrison nicknamed his 120-room Friar Park mansion “Crackerbox Palace” after a friend’s description of Lord Buckley’s tiny Los Angeles home. The 66-acre property, about 37 miles west of London, was first owned by Sir Frank Crisp, a lawyer who lived there from 1889 to 1919. Harrison bought the estate in 1970—and quickly penned “The Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp,” which appeared on his first solo album, All Things Must Pass, also in 1970.

Friar Park was a strange place, with gnomes, grottos, a miniature Matterhorn, and lavish gardens, which Harrison loved to tend. According to the Victoria County History website, the house itself “is an architectural fantasy in red brick, stone, and terracotta, mixing English, French and Flemish motifs in lavish, undisciplined profusion.”

4. HE LOVED HANGING OUT WITH BOB DYLAN AND THE BAND.

All four Beatles were Dylan fans, and first met him in 1964. But Harrison felt a special bond with him, and spent weeks at Dylan’s Woodstock, New York home in the fall of 1968. The Band was there, too, and Harrison loved the collaborative atmosphere. During this time Dylan and Harrison co-wrote “I’d Have You Anytime,” which appeared on 1970's All Things Must Pass. The two would become bandmates in the Traveling Wilburys, and maintained a close, lifelong friendship.

5. THE "QUIET BEATLE" WASN’T SO QUIET.

"He never shut up," friend and fellow Traveling Wilbury Tom Petty once said of Harrison. "He was the best hang you could imagine."

6. WHEN HE LOST HIS VIRGINITY, THE OTHER BEATLES CHEERED.

The Beatles at the EMI studios in Abbey Road, as they prepare for 'Our World', a world-wide live television show broadcasting to 24 countries with a potential audience of 400 million.
BIPs/Getty Images

During the band’s early years, they had extended runs as a house band in Hamburg, Germany, and were paid so poorly (and had to be on stage for so many hours) that they shared a small room in the club’s basement. Hence the witnesses to George’s deflowering, at age 17. "We were in bunkbeds," Harrison recalled. "They couldn't really see anything because I was under the covers, but after I'd finished they all applauded and cheered. At least they kept quiet whilst I was doing it."

7. WITHOUT HIM, THERE MAY NOT HAVE BEEN A MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN.

EMI Films, Life of Brian’s original backer, withdrew funding for the Monty Python comedy classic just before filming began, scared that the religious subject matter would be too controversial. Harrison, a big fan and friend of the Pythons, set up his own production company—Handmade Films—to fund the project. Why? "Because I liked the script and I wanted to see the movie,” he explained. Harrison not only saw the film, he appeared in it, as Mr. Papadopolous, "owner of the Mount.” Monty Python’s Life of Brian, released in 1979, was a huge hit in both the UK and U.S., and was ranked as the 10th best comedy film of all time in 2010 by The Guardian.

8. HE WAS THE FIRST EX-BEATLE TO SIMULTANEOUSLY TOP BOTH THE SINGLES AND ALBUMS CHARTS.

Harrison began recording the songs that would comprise All Things Must Pass at Abbey Road on May 26, 1970, just weeks after the Beatles broke up. The triple album was released in late November, along with “My Sweet Lord,” the first single from the album. Both the record and the single spent weeks at the top of the Billboard and Melody Maker charts in early 1971, while receiving rave reviews.

9. THE FIRST SONG HE WROTE WAS INSPIRED BY A DESIRE TO TELL PEOPLE TO GET LOST.

Harrison wrote “Don’t Bother Me,” his first first solo composition, while sick in bed at the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth, England, in the summer of 1963. It “was an exercise to see if I could write a song,” Harrison said. “I don't think it's a particularly good song ... It mightn't even be a song at all, but at least it showed me that all I needed to do was keep on writing, and then maybe eventually I would write something good." “Don’t Bother Me” appeared on With The Beatles, their second studio album.

10. HE WAS THE FIRST BEATLE TO VISIT, AND PLAY IN, THE U.S.

In the fall of 1963, Harrison traveled to Benton, Illinois to visit his sister, Louise, and her husband, George Caldwell. During his 18-day stay, Harrison also became the first Beatle to play in the U.S.—appearing on stage with The Four Vests at the VFW Hall in Eldorado. He played the second set with the band, taking over lead guitar and singing "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Your Cheatin' Heart."

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