What you may not know about conventions past and present

A history of presidential campaign songs
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Story highlights

  • 1984 - The first time a woman was named to a major party ticket
  • 1972- TV's 'Archie Bunker' receives a single vote for vice president
  • 1924 - The first time conventions were covered by radio; for television, it was 1948
  • 2000 - The long smooch Al Gore gave his then-wife, Tipper
Day Two of the Republican National Convention brings another round of trivia and more you may not know about women candidates, keynote ambitions, and celebrity vote getters.
Convention firsts
• New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro's nomination for vice president at the 1984 Democratic convention marked the first time a woman was named to a major party ticket. In 2008, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin became the first woman named to a GOP ticket.
• In 1964, Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith was officially placed in nomination for the presidency at the Republican convention. This marked the first time a woman's name was placed in nomination by a major political party. Smith won 27 votes. Sen. Barry Goldwater was the nominee.
• Laura Clay received one delegate vote for president in 1920 at the Democratic convention in San Francisco -- the first time a woman ever received a vote for president at a major party convention.
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Gov. Christie speaks at the RNC
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Ann Romney addresses the RNC
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Ann Romney addresses the RNC 21:36
• In 1940, although Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt had not publicly indicated that he would seek reelection, he won the first ballot handily with only 13 delegates opposing him. He became the first president to be nominated for a third term.
• Attempting to become the first woman to speak at a major party convention, Susan B. Anthony requested in 1868 that she be allowed to address the Democratic delegates on the cause of women's suffrage. It was denied.
• Dorothy Bush was elected secretary of the Democratic National Committee in 1944 and at 27 was the youngest person and first woman to be elected an officer of either major political party. Bush served as party secretary until 1989 and called the roll at every Democratic convention for 40 years.
Convention keynote speaker facts
• Sixteen keynote speakers have gone on to run for president but only two have won their party's nomination: Warren G. Harding (1916 GOP keynote speaker, 1920 presidential nominee) and Barack Obama (2004 Democratic keynote speaker; 2008 presidential nominee)
Convention coverage milestones
• In 1844, the news of Henry Clay's presidential nomination by the Whigs was telegraphed from Maryland, where the convention was held, to the U.S. Capitol.
• National political conventions were covered on radio for the first time in 1924.
• National political conventions were covered on television for the first time in 1948.
Convention Timing
• 2012 marks the fifth time that the two major party conventions have been held on back-to-back weeks. This also happened in 1912, 1916, 1956 and 2008.
Longest and shortest conventions
• The Democratic convention in New York in 1924 was the longest in history -- 17 days.
• The Democratic convention in Baltimore in 1872 was the shortest in history -- six hours.
• The 2012 Democratic convention is scheduled for three days. This would be the shortest for the party since 1948, which was also three days. The 1972 GOP convention lasted three days. The 2008 GOP convention was four days, but the first day's program was abbreviated due to a Gulf Coast storm, Hurricane Gustav.
Weird convention moments
• In 2000, Vice President Al Gore gave his wife, Tipper, a long kiss before delivering his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination.
• At the 1972 Republican convention, President Richard Nixon appeared before delegates in a live television hookup while speaking to a group of young Republicans. During the telecast, singer Sammy Davis Jr. gave Nixon a bear hug.
• Because of a long roll call during the 1972 vice presidential balloting, Democratic Sen. George McGovern did not start his acceptance speech until 3 a.m. ET, long after the national television audience had gone to bed.
• People who received unexpected votes for president or vice president at Democratic or Republican conventions include: Writer Hunter S. Thompson, football great Roger Staubach, Judge Robert Bork, newsmen David Brinkley and Roger Mudd, writer William F. Buckley, fictional TV character 'Archie Bunker,' pediatrician/author Dr. Benjamin Spock and novelist George Orwell. Orwell received one vote for vice president at 1980 Democratic convention even though he had been dead for more than 30 years.