In U.S. politics, 1960s won't fade away

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The 1960s may be history, but in American politics that tumultuous decade of social upheaval never gets old.

The presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain already has dredged up some of the decade's most lasting symbols -- from the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War to violent radical groups and Woodstock.

The cultural clashes fostered by the social strife of the '60s have played a role in virtually every U.S. presidential race since Republican Richard Nixon's victory in 1968, and the battle between Obama and McCain is no different.

"In politics, old habits die hard," said Rick Perlstein, author of "Nixonland," a history examining how the social turmoil of the 1960s helped Nixon win the White House twice, and the decade's lingering political effects.

"The '60s were such a traumatic time, we haven't even begun to reckon with the divisions it created," he said. "It may not be able to drive a campaign anymore, but it still provides the contours for great drama."

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