The Christian Science Monitor/File
Pat Paulsen roiled the political establishment with his run for the presidency in 1968. His "STAG Party" – that's "Straight Talking American Government – was backed by the "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," where he was a regular commentator on serious issues. Though his original election bid never got off the ground – "I campaigned two weeks in Canada," he said, "not realizing they couldn't vote" – his name has become a favorite write-in protest vote. In 1996, he garnered 961 votes in New Hampshire's Democratic presidential primary, finishing second to Bill Clinton.
"I admit I do have some drawbacks and limitations as a candidate," he said in 1968. "Although I am a professional comedian, some of my critics maintain that this is not enough. I cannot deny that I stand before you untested and inexperienced – I only spent two years in television, never as a romantic lead or a song and dance man."