Depending on who you ask, political party conventions are massive infomercials or extremely important events. Though the cost and hoopla surrounding modern conventions may be over-the-top, without a doubt Republican and Democratic National Conventions have produced more than a few memorable moments throughout the decades. Since the first televised convention in 1940, Americans have become an audience to multiple days of sweeping addresses from each party’s most powerful figures.
From the rocky Democratic Convention in 1968, to Hillary Clinton running for Senate, to Sarah Palin’s national debut, here is a selection of some of the most memorable political convention moments.
Do you remember watching these live? Have any moments thus far in the 2012 conventions stuck out as historic or noteworthy?
The 1968 Democratic Convention was the rowdiest in history as anti-war protests rocked the city of Chicago.
Also at the 1968 Democratic Convention, Dan Rather was in a heated confrontation on the convention floor. Looking back on his career in 2009, CBS News recounts:
Rather was knocked down while reporting from the convention floor. “Don’t push me,” Rather said from the convention floor. “Take your hands off me unless you plan to arrest me!”
During his own speech at the 1968 Democratic Convention, Sen. Abraham Ribicoff replaced his prepared speech for George McGovern and instead criticized Chicago Mayor Richard Daly’s handling of the situation. Watch Daly’s reaction.
Richard Nixon came out swinging at the 1968 Republican National Convention, declaring himself ready to “sock it to them!”
At the 1968 Democratic Convention, New York Governor Mario Cuomo gave a rousing keynote address. A “Tale of Two Cities” has endured as one of the best addresses delivered during a political convention. And then weep knowing that no politician today has the guts to do something like this.
Vice President Al Gore & wife Tipper Gore freaked us all out at the 2000 Democratic National Convention after a prolonged romantic moment. “The kiss was unusually long, and unusually intense, for a politician. It went against Gore’s reputation as something of a stiff in public,” says ABC News.
Hillary Clinton also spoke at the 2000 Democratic National Convention as she was running for Senate in New York, just as she wrapped up eight years in the White House as First Lady.
Independent Senator Joe Lieberman spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention, endorsing Sen. John McCain. It was especially unusual as he was previously a vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in 2000.
Also at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin made a big splash when she accepted the party’s nomination for vice president. Although the rest of her campaign performance would feature more than one gaffe, at the time of the convention, this speech was considered a “game changer”. And then there is this line: “You know what they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is? Lipstick.”