The debate over Rudy Giuliani and His Amazingly Ringing Cell Phone continues to rage. Believe it nor not. Many think that it was a stunt. Others, a ploy. Still others think it was a mawkish attempt to seem more genuine and less mawkish.
Whether or not you think Giuliani jumped the couch on this one, you may be wondering if there is any room in politics for this kind of behavior? It turns out there is. Here are a few other historical instances of politicos engaging in communication-related weirdness during public appearances…
- In the middle of a televised debate in 1996, Bob Dole was interrupted mid-sentence a total of seven times when Bill Clinton's pager sounded. Surprisingly, Clinton's poll numbers rose 10 points the following day.
- Former Vice President Walter Mondale lost his 1984 presidential bid thanks largely in part to his penchant for ignoring voters at campaign stops to swap erotic Dynasty fan-fiction on ARPANET bulletin boards.
- During his 1956 reelection campaign, Dwight Eisenhower was caught signaling a nearby ship with a pocket mirror. When it was learned the messages were bawdy remarks about Treasury Secretary George Humphrey's wife, Ike almost lost the race. Lucky for him though, a week later Adlai Stevenson paused during a speech to send and receive telegrams from a known Communist.
- At random points during his legendary orations, Abraham Lincoln regularly partook of a practice known as "Instant Carrier Pigeoning" with his longtime confidant Joshua Speed.
- Thomas Jefferson was beloved for inventing America but annoyed many with his incessant habit of speaking with his pocket-Negro, a miniature slave with a gift for gab that the founder often held to his ear for private conversations.
Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton, Dwight Eisenhower, Rudy Giuliani, Scandalgate, Thomas Jefferson