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Yesterday in La Crosse

Pineapples vs. peanuts? The state of politics, 43 years ago

Brad Williams

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In late October of 1976, Senator Bob Dole paid a campaign visit to La Crosse and West Salem. Dole was President Gerald Ford’s running mate on the Republican ticket, facing Democrats Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. Since Carter was known as a peanut farmer, and the name “Dole” is associated with pineapples, Dole somehow got around to joking that unlike peanut butter, pineapple juice doesn’t stick to the roof of your mouth.

Democrats brought California Governor Jerry Brown to UW-L for a late campaign rally to help Carter, who defeated him in the primaries. At Mitchell Hall, Brown said Ford hadn’t come up with an original idea in 25 years.

Some new fall TV shows in ’76 didn’t last long, such as a Dick Van Dyke variety show featuring an unknown Andy Kaufman, a Sunday night show for kids with Bill Cosby, and the sitcom “Mr. T and Tina.” It wasn’t THAT Mr. T–the character was a Japanese businessman played by Pat Morita, yesterday in La Crosse.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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