The Maple Leaf Parade of 1988 in La Crosse fell just a month before a presidential election, and it drew a frequent presidential contender. Republican Sen. Bob Dole walked with several Wisconsin members of his party in the parade, including Senate candidate Susan Engeleiter, who was running to succeed retiring Democrat William Proxmire. Dole had been a primary candidate for president that year, losing the nomination to incumbent VP George H.W. Bush.
Engeleiter’s Democratic opponent, Herb Kohl, also took part in the parade. Kohl won the Senate seat, and in the Bush vs. Dukakis race for the White House, Wisconsin went for Michael Dukakis.
On October 5th of 1988, vice presidential candidates Dan Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen debated in Omaha. The event is best remembered for Republican Quayle comparing his qualifications to Democrat John Kennedy in 1960, with Bentsen responding “You’re no Jack Kennedy.” Quayle still became VP.
In movie theaters that fall, you could see “Halloween 4,” a sequel without Jamie Lee Curtis. She was starring with John Cleese and Kevin Kline in “A Fish Called Wanda.” And Tom Hanks and Sally Field played stand-up comics in “Punchline.” Hanks got his first Oscar nomination that year, for starring in “Big.” The best picture Oscar for 1988 went to “Rain Man,” with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise…yeah, definitely “Rain Man,” yesterday in La Crosse.