[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/07/art.split.candidates.jpg]Leslie Sanchez
Despite the best work of political handlers and advertising pros in presidential elections, people's perceptions are often shaped by impressions formed by events that are completely out of the campaigns' control.
Such was the case just before midnight on August 20, 1968, when Soviet troops marched through Prague, putting a sudden and brutal end to the Czechoslovakian communist reform movement that was known, all too briefly, as the "Prague Spring." Seventy-eight days later, Americans gave Richard Nixon an Electoral College margin of 110 votes.
Forty years later, Russian tanks are rolling once more over their neighbors, and the images that are shaping Americans' lasting perceptions are of a president playing in the sand with the women's beach volleyball team and the presumptive Democratic nominee alternately walking along Kailua Beach and playing golf in Hawaii.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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