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A history of Maureen Dowd's electoral hot takes

For 34 years, Maureen Dowd has inflicted searing burns on prospective Presidents. As one of the most recognised and most read newspaper writers in the world, Dowd has made a name for herself as the White House antagonist and the people's protagonist. We look back at nine Presidential election campaigns as told by the powerhouse New York Times columnist once dubbed 'The Cobra' by George W. Bush.

1984

RONALD REAGAN VS. WALTER MONDALE

“Ask men about Ronald Reagan and they often give two-fisted answers. 'He's a man who, when he says something, sticks to his guns,' said Dan Luch, a 28-year-old engineer attending a Democratic rally in Detroit. 'It's a John Wayne type of thing, you know, the Cavalry.'”

Read more at the New York Times

1988

GEORGE H.W. BUSH VS. MICHAEL DUKAKIS

“With their affectionate banter and cozy familiarity, Michael and Kitty Dukakis have played out a campaign romance that captivates many Americans who say they love nothing better than to see a husband who loves to show that he loves his wife. The Bushes have always been reticent about public displays of affection — ''I'm embarrassed by people who put on a whole kind of lovey-dovey,'' Barbara Bush told The Los Angeles Times — but they proved this week that they are ready to compete even in the realm of amore.”

Read more at the New York Times

Image: Lennox Mclendon

1992

BILL CLINTON VS. GEORGE H.W. BUSH VS. H. ROSS PEROT

"They say that George Bush is at his best when he's backed into a corner, that he's a tiger on triple match point, in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter, after the second out of the ninth inning, against the ropes in the 15th round. That is when, his advisers like to say, he gets loaded for bear." 

Read more at the New York Times

1996

BILL CLINTON VS. ROBERT DOLE VS. H. ROSS PEROT VS. RALPH NADER

“Bill Clinton has given us the Limbo Presidency. (Bill be limbo, Bill be quick, Bill go under the limbo stick.) Slowly, inch by inch, he lowers the bar and we bend to accommodate his failings.”

Read more at the New York Times

2000

GEORGE W. BUSH VS. AL GORE VS. RALPH NADER

“It's a wacky moment in politics. We could have a Bush, a Dole and a Clinton running in 2000, but not that Bush, that Dole or that Clinton.”

Read more at the New York Times

2004

GEORGE W. BUSH VS. JOHN KERRY

“Once upon a time, with Al Smith and John Kennedy, the church was proud to see Catholics run for president. The church was as unobtrusive in 1960, trying to help J.F.K., as it is obtrusive now, trying to hurt J.F.K. II.”

Read more at the New York Times

2008

BARACK OBAMA VS. JOHN MCCAIN

“In the final moments of the most gripping campaign in modern history, John McCain is still trying to costume Barack Obama as a dangerous enigma. But, in an odd and remarkable reversal, it is McCain who is the enigma, even though he entered the race with one of the best brands in American politics.”

Read more at the New York Times

2012

BARACK OBAMA VS. MITT ROMNEY

“Barack Obama blazed like Luke Skywalker in 2008, but he never learned to channel the Force. And now the Tea Party has run off with his light saber. The dissonance of his promise and his reality is jarring.”

Read more at the New York Times

Image: Wikimedia Commons

2016

HILLARY CLINTON VS. DONALD TRUMP

Hillary willfully put herself above the rules — again — and a president, campaign and party are all left twisting themselves into pretzels defending her. Obama aimed to have no shadows, but the Clintons operate in shadows.”

Read more at the New York Times

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As America’s best-known female newspaper columnist, Maureen Dowd has covered nine presidential campaigns, and brings an astute take on contemporary American politics and its leaders.

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