Past presidential convention moments - FOX 13 News

Past presidential convention moments


Presidential conventions are no longer the debate-filled site of difficult nomination decisions, but that doesn't mean that they don't have their moments. Here's a look back at some of the high points (and low points) of conventions past.

1864: Wartime conventions
In the midst of the Civil War, bitterly split Democrats nominate General George McClellan as their 'peace candidate' at a convention in Chicago. Meanwhile, similarly divided Republicans hold two conventions and end up splitting the party. McClellan loses to incumbent Abraham Lincoln but the process shows that democracy can continue despite a divisive war.

1924: First radio broadcast
The Republicans re-nominate incumbent Calvin Coolidge as voters listen to the action from Cleveland on the radio for the first time.

1924: Ballot after ballot after ballot
It takes 103 tries for the Democrats to nominate their candidate. And it was all in vain -- West Virginian John W. Davis lost to Calvin Coolidge.

1932: Franklin D. Roosevelt
With the country in the throes of the Great Depression, FDR tells delegates in Chicago about his "New Deal" for getting Americans back to work.

1940: First televised convention
New York City's NBC affiliate, W2XBS, televises portions of the 1940 Republican National Convention from Philadelphia, marking the first time that a TV audience got a peek inside the process.

1960: Chairman of the Board
Frank Sinatra opens the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles with his version of the Star Spangled Banner. He's there to see his pal John F. Kennedy get the nomination.

1964: Lyndon Johnson
LBJ took office after President Kennedy was killed, so the convention of 1964 in Atlantic City saw the incumbent president campaigning for a "Great Society" that included a variety of social reforms.

1968: Protests in Chicago
Thousands of anti-war protestors battle with cops outside the Democratic convention as TV cameras roll. Inside, CBS correspondent Dan Rather gets roughed up while trying to cover the political wrangling. Walter Cronkite calls them "thugs."

1984: First woman
Democratic nominee Walter Mondale chooses Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his running mate -- the first woman to be included on the ticket by a major party, though the pair are defeated by Reagan-Bush.

1988: "Read my lips"
Famous quote by then-vice president George Bush in New Orleans: "Read my lips: No new taxes"

2000: Gores' big kiss
Al Gore and his wife Tipper lock lips in an open-mouth kiss on the Los Angeles convention stage. Republicans and Democrats alike say, 'eww.'

2004: Barack Obama's debut
A state senator from Illinois wows the Democrats with his keynote address in Boston and catapults himself onto the national stage. He is elected president four years later.

2008: Sarah Palin's debut
Forty-million people watch as the Alaskan governor delivers a 40-minute speech from St. Paul accepting her nomination as John McCain's running mate. It's the first time that many Americans hear from her.

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